Mugler unveils Casey Cadwallader's inventive inaugural collection
With a little help from Casey Cadwallader, Mugler is hoping to recoup its successes of yesteryear. The Clarins-owned French label recruited the American designer at the beginning of December, tasking him with the "long-term pursuit of the brand revival." Now, after plunging deep into the label's archives, he has redefined the Mugler woman, with a personality as strong as ever, but with a new conceptual streak.
The designer has had only a few weeks in which to deliver his first collection, which as such couldn't be shown at fashion week — but the house should be back to the catwalk in Paris next season.
The first Casey Cadwallader collection was quietly revealed at a private presentation in New York, and via a series of photos taken by Arnaud Lajeunie in two postmodern buildings by Riccardo Bofill: the Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, a former cement factory in Barcelona and current headquarters of the Spanish architect, and in his country home on the Costa Brava, with a swimming pool and lush gardens.
For the shoot, the designer selected a distinctive cast: literature graduate and model Jess Cole; Japanese model Ami Suzuki and her Swiss peer Vivienne Rohner; Mugler ambassadors Debra Shaw and Amy Wesson (notably the face of the Angel fragrance); artist Samara Scott, who also contributed to the production of certain pieces in the collection; Parisian DJ Dustin Muchuvitz; French swimmer Anna Santamans; British actress Anna Brewster; French producer Vera Massias and American rapper 070 Shake, each one intended to reflect a different facet of the Mugler woman.
The Autumn/Winter 2018/19 collection consists of some thirty looks, which are "an invitation to experimentation," Cadwallader explained in a press release, underlining the heritage bequeathed by Thierry Mugler in terms of "innovation and radical design."
"Mixing day and night, this first collection approaches the spectrum of femininity by means of multiple expressions of the sculptural DNA of Mugler, drawing on a new, more casual design. Denim, leather, prints and a myriad of textures fuse with the language of the label, amid bold couture and elegant draping. These ideas will continue to evolve and transform for my first runway show in October," added the 38-year-old designer, who has previously served at Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, Loewe and Acne Studios.
While there might be sharp shoulders and nipped-in waists in a nod to Thierry Mugler's style and highly graphic, structured garments, Cadwallader's re-reading is still more subtle. A voluminous men's jacket in malachite green can be tightened at the waist by means of a system of laces on each side, while bomber jackets are tailored in softer leather, and proportions, than in the past.
The designer's influences are discernible throughout the collection, bearing the traces of his background in architectural studies at Cornell University and his passion for contemporary art. For example, the brightly-coloured trench coats with abstract motifs are a fruit of the collaboration with Samara Scott, constructed from two different thicknesses of translucent PVC, trapping between them various beauty products (toothpaste, vaseline, hair gel, perfume, self-tanning lotion, etc.). Elsewhere, a jersey and organza dress is embellished with a collage of printed flowers. Sportswear, too, is present, in the form of Bermuda cycling shorts; lacquered lycra leggings; and spiral-topstitched denim jackets and jeans.
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