Mugler Womenswear A/W12

Susie Bubble visited the Opéra atelier for a preview the day before...

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I now know what it must feel like to do what the privileged few in the industry get to do, which is preview collections on the eve of the show. Except, everyone got to do the same as following up from their menswear initiative, Nicola Formichetti opened up the doors to the Mugler atelier in the 36 hour run-up to the show last night. Inspired by SHOWstudio’s Big Brother-style live stream of the mundane office at work, Formichetti welcomed guests with open arms in amidst crucial fittings, soundtrack checks and casting woes. There definitely aren’t many Paris-based houses that would be willing to do what Formichetti has done and it’s improbable that many would follow suit. Cleverly, Formichetti marks Mugler out as a house of inclusion, to invite us all to share the process and of course see the results.

Formichetti’s design partner Sebastien Peigne spoke of Japanese Samurai uniforms being inspired by insects and so it was with this parallel that Formichetti and Peigne approached the sculpted shoulder, elongated sleeve and curve-fronted peplum shapes that peppered the collection

When I dropped into the atelier the night before, I was treated to a preview of the Ryuichi Sakamoto contributed soundtrack (Formichetti just dropped an email plea to Sakamoto and miraculously he agreed) that went hand in hand with this Japanese inflected collection. Formichetti also showed off some encased insects, which picked up from Thierry Mugler’s first couture debut as well as equating animal with human life, inline with Japanese philosophy. Formichetti’s design partner Sebastien Peigne spoke of Japanese Samurai uniforms being inspired by insects and so it was with this parallel that Formichetti and Peigne approached the sculpted shoulder, elongated sleeve and curve-fronted peplum shapes that peppered the collection. First off, albino animals informed the visually arresting passage of white in the beginning where jellyfish-esque fronds grazed over the beautifully constructed peplums. This then made way for more tangible pieces such as a broad shouldered tomato red top and trouser and a fur-collared cashmere coat that stood out as pieces that were immediately covetable. Black and white interplayed with each other in a sculptural oeuvre that evoked the structure of insects with intermittent appearances of textures such as a sequined jacket covered in a dusting of black feathers or a zebra print. Finally, a group of elegant ninjas cocooned in angular black came out as the emphatic ending to Formichetti and Peigne’s investigation into the spirit of Japan.

Black and white interplayed with each other in a sculptural oeuvre that evoked the structure of insects with intermittent appearances of textures such as a sequined jacket covered in a dusting of black feathers or a zebra print

Ultimately in this animal and cultural hybrid of a collection, Formichetti and Peigne showed that their work for Mugler is an exploration of how to nod to archive material and make it relevant for the 21st century customer, who more than likely won’t remember Mugler the first time round. “We always look at a lot of archive pieces and then we forget about it,” says Peigne and it is this attitude that will take Mugler far into the future. Judging by Formichetti’s enthusiasm for internet-based inclusion, we’re all invited to come along for the ride.


Additional preview photography by Susie Bubble.

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