MM6 x The North Face: A Surprising Collaboration Fusing Sculptural Design and Functionality

With this surprising collaboration, sculptural circular design meets perfectionist functionality in a collection that showcases the iconic references of two of the biggest names in fashion and outerwear. During the London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2020, the fashion house MM6 Martin Margiela presented a collaboration with the outdoor specialist The North Face.

MM6, the contemporary line by Maison Margiela, is renowned for its unconventional cut and use of “circle silhouettes” in their designs, including knitwear, leather handbags, and now, puffer jackets. The North Face, on the other hand, is well known for their innovative and practical outerwear that protects against the harshest weather conditions.

The North Face reinterpreted three of its popular jacket models for this collaboration, including the hooded Himalayan Coat, the cape-style Mountain Kaban, and the compact Nuptse puffer jacket. The accessories for this collection are particularly noteworthy, with the Nuptse Scarf being a standout piece. The scarf is a fully lined collar with two hand openings that also function as integrated pockets, and it features the two-tone color scheme that is a signature of The North Face products.

The MM6 logo, larger than one would typically expect from Maison Margiela, sits prominently on the chest where the North Face logo is normally found. The color palette is limited to black, along with clear signal colors such as cobalt, violet, bottle green, sun yellow, and safety orange, and the double branding is a key aspect of the collection. The circle base camp clutch also plays with the exaggeratedly functional look, featuring an oversized, circular shape that is reminiscent of a packed throw tent, with the labels of both brands placed prominently on both sides of the bag.

One of the most exciting components of this collection is the interplay of the North Face Expedition System and the modular, customizable character of MM6 products. The Expedition System, developed by The North Face in 1990 for extreme weather conditions, consists of various removable layering pieces. The collaboration between MM6 and The North Face creates designs with interlocking components that adapt and expand the protective, insulating properties of any design.

While the collection itself is impressive, the styling and presentation of the fashion show leave something to be desired. The zebra turtle necks under the puffer jackets are poorly styled and do not complement the jackets, and the casting, hairstyles and make-up, as well as the setting, are reminiscent of a scene staged by Hedi Slimane. This is not in line with the spirit of Margiela, but despite this, the collaboration is sure to be a huge success.

The MM6 x The North Face collaboration offers a unique take on the intersection of fashion and functionality, blending the sculptural and circular design aesthetic of MM6 with the practicality and expertise of The North Face. It’s a must-see for fans of both brands, and for anyone who appreciates the combination of style and substance in their outerwear.