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The Story Behind The Garment: S/S 1989 Trompe l’Oeil Tattoo T-shirt & A/W 1989 - 90 Sweater By Maison Martin Margiela

Left: Sheer shirt with patterns, right: knitted sweater
Left: S/S 1989, right: A/W 1989-90
Monica Ho

Make-up artist Inge Grognard worked with designers like Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, A.F. Vandevorst and Walter Van Beirendonck. Inge Grognard has also made her name with international fashion labels including Balenciaga, Vetements and Rick Owens. During the twenty years of intense collaboration with Martin Margiela she gathered some iconic garments, which are now an important part of the MoMu Collection.

Left: Sheer shirt with patterns on it, right: knitted sweater
Left: S/S 1989, right: A/W 1989-90
Monica Ho

The items I have donated to MoMu were once received as payment for my work for Martin Margiela. Each season, I was allowed to choose the garments I considered best. Some of these I wore, and others I chose to cherish in my archives. I got to know Martin in Genk when I was fourteen years old and, even then, we already shared a common interest in art and fashion. My first make-up job was for Martin, when he was still a student at the Academy. This immediately marked the start of an intense collaboration that lasted over 20 years.

Sheer shirt with patterns printed on it making it look like tattoos on a body when wearing the shirt
Tromp L'oeil Tattoo T-shirt, S/S 1989
Monica Ho

I did the make-up for the first show by the Martin Margiela label for Spring - Summer 1989 in Café de la Gare in Paris. This show became a milestone in fashion history, although we didn't know it at the time. My personal experience of that show was mostly one of chaos. The location was a series of small dark rooms and it was the first time I had worked with assistants from Paris. It was tricky to keep things under control. Some models wore veils, but whenever make-up was involved, we went for a raw look: limited fond de teint, black panda eyes and deep-red lips.

My challenge was to track down the appropriate black pigment. The black needed to be really dark, and thirty years ago make-up like that was not available. Fortunately, I found a jet-black pigment somewhere that could be applied with a layer of grease. The pigment flaked on the skin and needed lots of retouching. The plan was actually for me to join in as a model, and my ‘multicolour’ jersey with shoulder pads was ready and waiting. It didn't work out though, due to the logistical challenges of difficult make-up and a dark backstage. After the show it was really emotional.

After the show I chose the 'trompe l’oeil' tattoo T-shirt and sleeves. The transparent weave with dark-blue tattoo motif appealed to me as I had no tattoos. The idea was to give you the chance to wear a tattoo. Even when my skin and body grew old or transformed, the tattoo would remain in shape. Brilliant.

Beige sweater with dark brown collar
Maison Martin Margiela, A/W 1989-90
Stany Dederen
Knitted sweater
Maison Martin Margiela, A/W 1989-90
Monica Ho

I chose this jumper from Martin Margiela’s second collection for Autumn-Winter 1989-90. The make-up for the show in the Paris night club Globo created a heavy look. It was inspired by punk, and featured dark-brown lips and black eyeliner with a downward line. I chose myself a beige knitted jumper with a raised dark-brown collar. I only wore the jersey a couple of times. I thought it was unique, with its appliqué patches, the snakes and all the unexpected details in the handwork. The collection was inspired by theatre costumes from the 1940s

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