When it was announced in September that renowned stylist Nicola Formichetti was taking over the Creative Directorship of the legendary brand Thierry Mugler, the rumor mill went wild with speculation of his intentions. In this, his first collection following his menswear debut, classic Mugler textures such as latex, plastic, and mesh contributed to the couture-like mega presentation and the palette from the menswear show was carried through with the tangerines washed out and nude and white thrown onto the board.
Presentation has always been an integral part of the brand’s identity, as most will recall the epic 1984 show that attracted 6000 visitors, and in a constructed cathedral that’s one area where Formichetti and womenswear designer Sébastien Peigné certainly succeeded. The models worked it like a backroom version of the Victoria’s Secret show, minus a few pump-it-up moves, the models weaved around the structure and we saw everything from lip-synching to meowing at the photographer’s pit.
Most of the buzz surrounding the event was the suspected, then inevitable, appearance of Formichetti’s long-time collaborator Lady Gaga. Before the show, the super sensitive microphones on the highly publicized livestream, which also picked up Anna Wintour’s phone conversation, picked up the Lady herself conferring with Formichetti saying, “I want them to see me walk and say ‘She’s a Mugler woman.’” While walk she did, and well, considering the shoes proved too much for a few of the models, she did not embody the Mugler woman. Starting off well with an installation-like debut smoking a cigarette and slinking around the pillars, her final walk that involved hip thrusting and overzealous scarf whipping was all Gaga and all performance.
Even though the brand was never one to show wearable looks, the Thierry Mugler woman was always just that, a woman. Her curves were accentuated, even to the point of the ridiculous, but it would seem the newly rebranded Mugler subscribes to the neo-misogynist perspective of women with, but a few exceptions, nary a curve in sight, even with the abundance of exposed breasts. The creative director justified this change by noting the desire for "a purity of proportion to reflect a genesis into post-human android-goddess" in the show’s notes, but unfortunately this isn’t a sci-fi film or art instillation; it is supposed to be a fashion collection and part of a business model that is meant to make money. Some may declare this a success, but there is work to be done before the label returns to its former glory.
Photos: Vincenzo Grillo, IMAXtree