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Arca for Mugler AW23
Courtesy of Mugler

Arca and Ziwe shut down Mugler’s mad, bad, and dangerous runway return

Alongside Dominique Jackson, Debra Shaw, and just about everyone else who Kawasaki-zoomed onto the AW23 catwalk with high-octane villainy

Thierry Mugler wasn’t the only designer to have reimagined the fashion show, but he was the one to have blown the format apart. In the 90s, he transformed the runway into the kind of high camp pageantry that now feels par for the course: inviting Diana Ross to walk and casting trans models Connie Fleming and Teri Toye as regular fixtures. 

It’s a tradition that Casey Cadwallader has compounded three decades later, taking to the final day of the couture shows in Paris to lay on the fashion extravaganza of the season. Here is a non-exhaustive list of everyone who walked: Ziwe, Paloma Elsesser, Irina Shayk, Raya Martigny, Adut Akech, Anok Yai, Mariacarla Boscono, Aweng Chuol, Dominique Jackson, Debra Shaw (!) and Arca – who Kawasaki-zoomed onto the catwalk on the back of a TV trolley, before slut-dropping, stomping, and attempting to drag JT from The City Girls off the front row. Each of them were clad in Mugler’s sinuous body suits, some in redux Cadillac corsets, all honking of attitude. 

High-stakes, high-octane, high glamour: the runway show as an entertainment spectacle has been a source of derision for industry critics, but when fashion is hurtling towards another unprecedented, but inevitable, combustion with pop culture, Cadwallader let the flames ignite. All that showmanship was in service to the body, which was bound boudoir-style in pelts of lace, slashed bodycons, and wipe-clean corsetry. The sleeves of blown-up biker jackets were extended into fisting gloves; slithers of denim skirts were squared off at the waist; while kidney-shaped leather bags were whipped about with villainy.

Click through the gallery above for some of the best looks from the show.