In what has now become a Nicola Formichetti signature, the spring 2012 Mugler men’s show was preceded by much fanfare. First, teaser images of modern-day Grecian hunks in skimpy swim trunks and chunky gold jewelry disseminated online last week. That was followed on Tuesday by a video (see below) showing men bonding by the sea, Herb Ritts-style, and finally, for Thursday, the promise of an uncensored version on the amateur-porn site Xtube.com (starring Nomi Ruiz, the transsexual singer of the band Jessica 6, who provided the show’s excellent soundtrack).
Upon taking their seats in the majestic neo-classical room of the Galerie de Mineralogie, guests discovered a softcore fanzine with further pictures of Hellenistic revelry, including a close-up of a young man’s face slathered in a dubious milky fluid. As for the program notes, they cited a litany of influences, ranging from Roman architecture and neo-realist Italian cinema to Bruce Weber and Bel Ami, the gay porn company that elevated Eastern European men to sex symbols. It all made for very protracted foreplay.
The result was the usual tailored fare from Romain Kremer, which means the menswear designer transferred to Mugler all the strengths and weaknesses of his namesake label. The thing is, a tailoring mindset doesn’t seem to come naturally to him. The numerous beige suits, slit at the midriff with a transparent drawstring band, were not as convincing as the pastel sportswear he sent out, with its jaunty gay clubland vibe. The stretchy motorcycle T-shirts with patterns enhancing male musculature, the glittery sequined tights and tops (some baring the torso), stonewashed denim, bright green creepers, and quirky fringed earrings were winning pieces.
Formichetti is right to use his magpie sensibility and tech-savvy to propel the brand into a new era. What he should work on is giving Mugler a sense of finesse and luxury. And perhaps more innovation. His casting, for example, comprised many familiar models, and didn’t explore new perceptions of male beauty, like his introduction of tattoo boy Rick Genest last season. It’s that kind of groundbreaking discovery we’re expecting from the gifted image-maker.
As a whole, the show was an improvement over last season, even if some in the press are never satisfied. Should they need further gratification, they can always head to Xtube.