Nordstrom made headlines last week for offering a pair of $425 jeans that appeared to be covered in mud. Social media users had a field day with the jeans, slamming the retailer and its offering, which bore a product description that read: “Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”
But alas, in this new(ish) trend of scouring e-commerce sites for controversial products, the internet has descended upon Neiman Marcus and a “ripped-up sneaker” that is selling for $1,425. Maison Margiela has “deconstructed their ‘Future’ high-top sneaker with heavy distressing,” according to the product description, causing a flurry of tweets and memes making light of the pricey shoe.
A bit more on-brand than the “mud jeans,” Margiela, a Paris-based brand launched in 1987 by Belgian designer Martin Margiela, has long beenknown for its penchant for destruction as a design technique. As Vogue noted in 2015, Margiela’s perennial interest lies in “the destruction of things that are lived-in (recall the house’s über-cool Converse collab—white-paint-dipped Chuck Taylors, which, with wear, cracked to reveal primary hues underneath).”
AnOther magazine’s Susannah Frankel put the essence of Margiela well when she wrote:
Since the late 1980s and the early days of Maison Margiela, the reinvention of found garments, deconstructed then reconstructed, has been at the heart of an aesthetic that is among the most influential in fashion. Martin Margiela himself once transformed a leather butcher’s apron into a dress; he took apart an antique wedding gown and recast it as a sequence of jackets, to name just two examples. A respect for the past and the emotional resonance that comes with aged clothing continued to feed the imagination of the house’s namesake designer until his retirement in 2009.
Nonetheless, the price tag of the sneakers and the Internet’s seeming lack of background on the history of Maison Margiela has created yet another heyday of “ridiculous fashion” chatter. A representative for Neiman Marcus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.