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Margiela Tabis are turned into works of art by three emerging creatives

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The project celebrates the launch of the Recicla Tabi, a limited-edition iteration of Maison Margiela’s iconic shoe

The Maison Margiela Tabi is a shoe so revered in the fashion world that it has spawned its own Instagram fan account, makes up 70 per cent of footwear at any given fashion party, and was dubbed – by the legendary designer Martin Margiela himself – as “the most important footprint of (his) career”.

The iconic split-toe-shoe has been reimagined numerous times throughout its history, with collaborative Reebok sneakers, candy-wrapper metallics, and even loafer and ballet pump iterations all among recent drops. Going into 2021, the boot is getting a new, environmentally-focused make-over, as part of Maison Margiela’s Recicla line. 

Based on the ethos of “recycling and upcycling”, the Tabis are crafted from leftover leather and come in eight limited-edition colours, including olive green, burgundy, and sky grey.

Partnering with Dazed Studio to celebrate the launch, the esteemed fashion house has invited three artists – each with a focus on turning unused objects into art – to reinterpret the shoe.

Ying Chang, a contemporary London-based artist who describes her work as ‘anti-throw away’, coated each Tabi in thick layers of silicon. After peeling away the layers in a bid to symbolise the ‘Tabi’s journey of transformation’, the result of her process is akin to a snake emerging from its shredded skin. 

Similarly, Pattern Chineso, a Chinese art collective based in Spain, also wanted to explore the idea of a ‘second skin’. Inspired by  the way teenagers protect their trainers by wrapping them in specially designed bags, the collective moulded discarded plastic found in local corner shop bins over the Tabi’s and spray painted them in various patterns. 

Rounding things off is Central Saint Martins student Alexandra Sipa, who opted to create Tabi footprints ‘from discarded electrical wire lace’. With each one unique in colour and shape to ‘mirror organic and uneven footprints’, Spira looked to contemporary Romanian kitsch culture to inform her artwork, and sought to ‘celebrate the origins of the leather used’.  

The brainchild of Margiela’s current creative director John Galliano, Recicla builds on the brand’s existing concept of Replica – a term used to describe Martin Margiela’s particular reproduction of vintage finds in his collections. 

The Recicla Tabi boots will be available to purchase worldwide, with very limited numbers of each colour available.