The first look at the debut collection of Mugler by Nicola Formichetti was fittingly revealed in a garage during the height of this week’s Paris Fashion Week. The anticipation was extreme for the renamed and revamped Thierry Mugler brand, especially with Nicola, infamous for being Lady Gaga‘s stylist, at the helm. Named the creative director of the French fashion house last year, Nicola is also fashion director for Vogue Hommes Japan, and has contributed to Dazed & Confused, V and AnOther Magazine.
Although that shock factor everyone naturally assumed would be present didn’t truly manifest on the runway, there were an astonishing amount of separate wearable pieces. The outwear was really street-ready, including a hooded yet sophisticated zip-up coat, a hefty jacket taking cues from a blazer and a re-imagined sleek trench. Nicola collaborated with the brand’s head menswear designer Romain Kremer for the collection which had a technological modernist feel amplified by a remixed version of a yet-to-be-released Gaga track blaring as the models took to the runway. But the starburst pops of orange amidst a sea of more muted black, ivory, grey and olive stood out.
The silhouettes ranged from form-fitting to downright baggy with atypical suit incarnations taking precedence. Plastic, nylon and latex were the fabrics of choice with some models even subjected to latex facials. It was all very superhero. The veils, reminiscent of stage ensembles assembled for Lady Gaga, oddly reinforced the superhero vibe, billowing like capes as the stoic men walked the runway.
Nicola’s tattooed inspiration was Rick Genest a.k.a. Rico whom he friended on Facebook. The, perhaps, unlikely model was featured on the runway and in the theatrical video serving as backdrop. Nicola admitted part of the influence also came from looking through the extensive Mugler archives.
Some runway witnesses seemed to feel the show was more of a display, a stylish installation rather than a fashion revelation. There was an admitted disappointment regarding the slightly minimalist approach, but Nicola is trying to refashion a brand, not stage an exhibit.
Lady Gaga had this to say about her close friend and collaborator’s latest endeavor: "His brain throbs with misfit royalty, glamour as punk survival, attitude as liberation, style as revolution. Thierry Mugler has a way with legendary lifestyle and Nicola is just that: Epic Lifestyle, Freakdom, Gorgeous or Die, the ‘fuck’ in future poetry, the street in High-Fashion. Nicola Formichetti is Fashion’s Freedom."
Well, that fantastic declaration may be a little far-fetched, but Nicola’s initial offering shows some hints of impressive inclinations. More evidence needs to be analyzed in the form of additional collections (his women’s version should be quite epic) before the jury can really be convened on Nicola’s Mugler performance.
photos via style.com and nytimes.com