Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
Paris–When the lights dimmed on the second floor of the Garage de Turenne yesterday evening in Paris, a male figure emerged on the video wide screen completely covered in a deep blue shining rubber materials. He began to scratch and peel the rubber off of his skin, first from the lower body then towards his face, a moment that signaled the start of the debut Mugler show under the creative direction of Nicola Formichetti. “It’s going to be genius!” “Fabulous” “So talented” were some of the pre-show chatters I heard around the area where I was seating. “On va voir,” (We shall see) was Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele’s response when I asked her if she thinks this new Mugler can be revived at this moment. Then a model emerged onto the raised platform in front of the screen wearing a black suit with a high elbow rubber gloves. Thus began a collection with the title–Anatomy of Change: Mode Sans Frontières. (Borrowed from the organization Médecins sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders.)
What followed was the intersection of an homage to past Mugler style and an effort to update that familiar look with materials like rubber, neoprene, stretch nylon, and reflective pieces.
Was it, as the program notes stated, “saying something about how fashion exists now”? Surely, when viewed today in the age of the internet and fast fashion, it possesses all the quintessential ingredients of Fabulosity–Lady Gaga specifically made the soundtrack and a star stylist sucked in the fashion crowd like the magnetic north. What other adjective can properly be ascribed to this gathering of the coolest people in the fashion universe? Yet what makes fashion so grand in pop culture today–the hype and the surface gloss–is also doing great harm to fashion design. Where can one even read or discuss the intricacies of design these days?
Throughout the show, I longed for the moment when the magic of fashion would take me away for a second. As the last models left the stage, I was left on my seat to analyze. But not to feel. All along I had secretly wished for this to be real fashion without boundaries. The French rarely evoke the word freedom: instead they frequently refer to taking risks using the verb “oser,” loosely translated as “to dare.” For the next collection, hopefully the creative minds behind the label, now simply called Mugler, will be daring and take more risks. That would truly honor the legacy and work of Thierry Mugler, the one who dared to be so fearless.