Maison Margiela has invited three young creatives to reinterpret the Tabi in an exclusive capsule collection.

According to the philosopher Karl Rosenkrantz, the “ugly” is a necessary moment of beauty, and as a contradiction of what is symmetrical and harmonious, it gives rhythm to the history of aesthetics: this is, in fact, the soul of every avant-garde in art, in design and also in the world of fashion, and of iconic garments considered ugly, over the decades, we could mention an infinity of them. These include the famous Tabi boots by Martin Margiela, which walked the catwalk for the first time in 1988 together with the debut collection of the mysterious Belgian designer: particularly curious shoes, inspired by the homonymous and original Japanese model of the fifteenth century, characterized by the clear division between the big toe and the other toes of the foot, as well as that of the conflicting opinions of those who admired them for the first time over thirty years ago.

Even today, opinions on Tabi Boots are varied and more or less shared regarding their beauty, but there has never been any doubt about one fact: boots have become a piece of fashion history and, even today, icons that can be molded to according to contemporary codes. Ie Instapump’s are a good example of this Reebok in Tabi version, hybrid shoes that appeared in January 2020 during the Maison Margiela Artisanal Haute Couture fashion show, but the latest news on the iconic shoes of the fashion house comes from a collaboration with three emerging artists.

In line with the philosophy pursued by John Galliano in the Recicla line, the boot was in fact the protagonist of a new restyling focused on sustainability and on upcycling. Topics particularly dear to Generation Z, which not surprisingly include the creatives chosen by Maison Margiela for a (re) limited edition of the Tabi boots. Each of the three young people has reinterpreted the shoe through their own artistic lens, and according to a personal vision of recycling: what do we leave behind? What is our legacy? These are the questions she asked herself Alexandra Sipa, a student at Central Saint Martins, who wanted to capture the breakthroughs of sustainable fashion – and in particular, of Margiela – by celebrating the positive impact of Tabi boots through four pairs of footprints. The result is eight individual footprints that vary in color and shape, irregular as in nature, made with electric wire lace discarded through floral motifs: decorations inspired by contemporary Romanian culture and the artist’s childhood memories.

A journey of permanent transformation, that of the Tabi boots, also celebrated by the London artist Ying Chang, who wanted to make his artistic version of the shoes a real symbol of this process. In fact, the work makes the means of realization the protagonist, a silicone mold, which has become part of the object itself. Through a process of removal, which according to Chang leads to the very evolution of fashion as a phenomenon, the identity of the Tabi boot is revealed: in this case, the layers of silicone have been taken away to reveal what is inside the boot. mold, making the shoe emerge as a creature that sheds its second skin.

Finally, also the Chinese collective Chineso pattern has explored, albeit in a different way, the concept of “moulting”: inspired by nature and how some animals manage to change their skin, the creatives have created an artistic parallelism with the recycling of plastic, synonymous with second or third life, or even of a new skin created by what is not completely destroyed. A performative exercise that allowed to play with commonly used materials, transformed into sculptural elements according to the mantra “dress with painting, paint with clothes”: in this way, the collective has revisited the boots through a purely artistic gaze, but with an eye to the evolution of the shoe from the 80s to today.

The Recicla Tabi boots will be available by the end of 2021 all over the world, but in a very limited number: collectors’ pieces, no doubt, but also a testimony on the way to how fashion, in a process of introspection, can give life to the future through suggestions from the past.

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