“Style Description: / Provenance: / Period:”: Martin Margiela, Fashion Authorship, and Romantic Literary History

  • Timothy CampbellEmail author


This chapter connects the rise of literary history in the Romantic age with the ambiguous place of history in fashion “authorship.” Drawing from Foucault’s account of the eighteenth-century divergence of scientific and literary authorship (and the new insistence that “every text of poetry or fiction […] state its author and the date, place, and circumstance of its writing”), I consider how fashion authorship differently complements literary production. Fashion’s weaker author function typically licenses the appropriation of older styles without much regard to provenance. But recent developments—particularly in the work of the designer Martin Margiela, who systematically deconstructs authorship via exacting replications of past styles and self-effacing returns to the intrinsic capacities of clothing materials—bring these questions of authorship and history full circle.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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