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Currently celebrating its 20th birthday, Martin Margiela is the most radical, chic name in fashion. And if you've never heard of him—well, that's all part of the plan

By Hettie Judah   January 2009

“Maison Martin Margiela” at 20 The Exhibition, MoMu, 28 Nationalestraat, Antwerp, until 8 February.

When Antwerp’s Mode Museum opened six years ago, its position plum in the centre of the city’s commercial fashion district signalled the integrated role the institution saw for itself in the daily life of the city. The museum building—ModeNatie—is also home to Antwerp’s famous fashion academy, and the students that pass through its hallways are now as likely to be Japanese as they are Belgian.

Currently, these polyglot students share their hallway with an undistinguished white caravan and an exhibition banner knotted from wire fencing and…

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