In the two years since he ascended to the role of creative designer at Mugler, Nicola Formichetti has established the house as an open space of sorts, sharing insider moments with, well, anyone with an internet connection and an interest in fashion. This season he gave marketing stunts whole new meaning, inviting online followers to submit their vision of the Mugler archives, with the five winners granted access to the fittings and backstage.
This Wikipedia-style, power-to the-people creative process is in sync with Formichetti's magpie references, which this season included equatorial trips, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Guy Bourdin, and Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love. Of course, Lady Gaga is never very far away. Cake, an unreleased single, was mixed into the soundtrack by sound-stylist extraordinaire Michel Gaubert.
Despite all the drum rolling, the Mugler clothes themselves haven't yet reached zeitgeist level. That said, the collection was clearly the best Formichetti and designer Sébastien Peigné have shown so far. Stepping down from her Gaga-esque pedestal, the new Mugler woman is ditching divawear in favor of user-friendly, sexy hourglass minidresses given an architectural edge with lantern sleeves and curving pleats in moldable fabrics like scuba and intriguing, plasticized materials paired with sheer textures. The palette of browns and burgundy was occasionally illuminated by boxy tops and skirts in tropical yellow, meant to evoke sunsets. The new accessory line included sharp clutches and high-heeled shoes with a 3D tortoiseshell effect, crafted by Massaro.
"It's about the street," said Formichetti in his program notes to explain the brief, tightly edited parade. “The hum of cars and the headlights, the setting sun againt concrete skyscrapers and the delirious heat that purifies." Many designers have gone down that Alaia-sexy 80s route before, and this new urbane stroll has clearly benefited the Mugler design team.