ANATOMY OF CHANGE FEMME - MODE SANS FRONTIERES
MUGLER READY-TO-WEAR A/W 2011-12
Nicola Formichetti’s first womenswear collection and show for Mugler as Creative Director expands on his idea of ‘fashion without boundaries’ for the label.
‘I wanted to do something in my role as Creative Director for Mugler that said something about how fashion exists now,’ explains Nicola Formichetti. ‘I grew up living in Japan and Italy and travelling between the countries - and I travel even more now. I think this has given me a global perspective on fashion from an early age and I want that to translate to Mugler. That’s also why technology plays such an important role for me in that you can communicate with people everywhere globally at the same time. I want to look at fashion from within and outside the industry and collaborate with people from all walks of life. I think fashion is not just products you buy, but things you look at, experience and feel. I like the idea of performance and fashion and having people participate in it and feel part of it in a different way. I also think many of these ideas are things that Thierry Mugler himself was interested in and he, of course, is a big inspiration. He does not come from a conventional fashion background either and in his shows did something spectacular and iconic that communicated with all sorts of people in a larger way.’
In terms of the approach to the collection and the anatomy of the label certain changes are signified. The clothing collections will now be called ‘Mugler’, demonstrating a new chapter in the history of the brand and as a mark of respect to the founder Thierry Mugler. This initial womenswear collection looks at the anatomy of Mugler clothing, particularly the extreme, structured silhouette - with a specific reworking of the ‘Metropolis’ shoulder - the interest in the ‘superhuman’ figure and the different, extraordinary types that make up the Mugler world. Quintessential Mugler colours and motifs also resonate, seen particularly in the passages of blue in the collection. At the same time there is an interest in the stripping down of that silhouette and its evolution; the notion of a ‘genetic’ change in proportions, to something altogether more ‘post-human’. The elongation and articulation of the female torso is of special focus here and is a template for much of the collection. In the beginning the Mugler woman is still seen as a glamorous heroine, wearing her second skin of latex, pvc, neoprene, and sinuous, fluid gazar with sharply tailored suiting. But breaking through those manmade materials and staunch tailoring is a new kind of anatomy, a modified flesh and bone - particularly emphasised by Rein Vollenga’s wearable sculpture - together with a wild, natural element of fur. Eventually this leads to an ‘exploding’ of the silhouette in the collection and its apotheosis at the end; a purity of proportion to reflect a genesis into post-human ‘android-goddess’.
‘We were looking at the idea of science as religion,’ says Formichetti. ‘A notion of space and time and how the human body is affected in the evolutionary process and how that, in turn, is played out through fashion and the evolution of fashion itself. There was an idea about looking at the inside of the body as well as the outside, and that had started with Rico [the heavily anatomically tattooed model Rick Genest] in the menswear. We wanted an idea of glamour, but one walking into the future.’
Working alongside the Mugler womenswear designer Sébastien Peigné on the clothing; collaborating with Lady Gaga on the music for the presentation, and building a band of various creatives to achieve the vision of this latest incarnation of Mugler means it is a collective process for Nicola Formichetti. ‘This is a house in the true sense of the word and I collaborate with various creative people to achieve this, it is not just about me and what I think.’ Franc Fernandez has worked on millinery this collection, as has Nasir Mahzar. Yoshiko Kajitan is responsible for the pearl pieces and Natalia Brill the silver jewellery. Rein Vollenga has contributed sculptural work. Finally, Atsuko Kudo are responsible for the latex items in the collection.
As Lady Gaga, the musical director of this womenswear project, commented herself on Formichetti’s appointment : ‘Blood pumps through Nicola’s veins like perfume and cigarettes. His brain throbs with misfit royalty, glamour as punk survival, attitude as liberation, style as revolution. Thierry Mugler has a way with legendary lifestyle and Nicola is just that: Epic Lifestyle, Freakdom, Gorgeous or Die, the ‘fuck’ in future poetry, the street in High-Fashion. Nicola Formichetti is Fashion’s Freedom. I love him, my friend the genius, my collaborator, more than any piece of clothing or closet I possess. But don’t tell him I said that, he’ll die. He picked them all out.’