Antwerp 2001, as the city prepares for Mode Landed-Geland, a cultural and political festival that aims to bring it back into the golden bed of the European fashion capitals, one of the most influential independent fashion publications is taking its first steps.

“Why a new magazine? We want to return to a poetic, fresh and pure fashion magazine, which takes a stand against homogenization, in support of individuality. A magazine in which we ask ourselves about fashion because we are fascinated by it "

The editor in chief Gerdi Esch writes in the editorial introducing the first issue.

Thus was born A Magazine, a new, breaking magazine, exactly as the founder Walter Van Beirendonck had imagined, the art directed Paul Boudens and his editor in chief.
The basic idea is to make a clean sweep, starting from a blank sheet of paper, a blackboard on which a fashion designer, with the utmost freedom of choice, could write (or "curate") content that reflects his vision.
The first five issues play with the letters of the alphabet, with a clear reference of the first number to the A in Antwerp, which stands out red on white from the (non) cover of the edition curated by the designer Dirk Van Saene (N ° A). Bernhard Willhelm (N ° B), Hussein Chalayan (N ° C) and Olivier Theyskens (N ° D) will follow.


a magazine N°A Dirk Van Saene

In these first five releases, every six months, thus following the seasonality of fashion, the project that will lead to the birth, in 2004, of A Magazine Curated By.
What is immediately evident is the role change of the fashion designer called to fill the pages of the magazine with his own imagination, who from guest creator becomes guest curator, as underlined in the colophon of N ° B. This distinction highlights a greater awareness of what the final project will then be, assigning the fashion designer a specific role, alternative but integrated to that of the publisher.
Every fashion designer comes to conceive the magazine exactly as if it were one of his fashion collections, pouring all his stylistic code into it and this is precisely what makes the difference between each issue. While the editor in chief is entrusted with the task of introducing the editor of the issue, the latter has total freedom of movement, defining the aesthetic and content standards of the magazine from time to time.

Having completed the final project, in 2004 A Magazine changed its name. No more letters of the alphabet, which at some point would have marked an end, but potentially infinite numbers. It starts from 1 with Maison Martin Margiela that chooses white as the characterizing element of the magazine but, above all, chooses to bring inside all the figures, often kept in the shade, that silently revolve around the Maison, as part of its anonymous fashion collective.

A magazine curated by 1 Maison Martin Margiela

Although not a single contribution bears his name, each page is imbued with the essence of the Maison, with stories, written by fax and photocopying, photographic and artistic projects by members of the permanent staff, but also trainees, assistants, models, artists , photographers, musicians, set designers and directors.

Almost two decades after its release, that issue is back today thanks to a limited edition reissue.



February 24, 2021 — Anna Frabotta

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