paris fashion week: thierry mugler
(images via style)
i’m going to right now frankly tell you i’m probably an ill-appointed critic of nicola formichetti's reloaded version of thierry mugler, showing for the first time at the paris a/w 2011 collections. besides an occasional look back through an old fashion book, i’m not particularly well-acquainted with the archives and you don’t need me to tell you once again that i have no great love for lady gaga.
thus, i headed into this review looking vexed (or perhaps stoned) as jessica stam (above) as she strode the catwalk, letting everyone in the audience know that, yeah, she was accepting the paycheck, but she was a much better model than most of this flotsam. (homegirl below gave us an even clearer expression on the subject; perhaps it’s her way of saying, “why are we even here? why not merely let lady g roll around onstage in a pile of clothes and call it her ‘art’?”)
a good question indeed. wwd correctly starts out their review with the comment, “It’s hard to judge Nicola Formichetti’s debut as creative director of the house that Thierry Mugler built as if it were a regular fashion show,” and indeed, much of the commentary on the subject is, in fact, reserved for describing the subtle nuances of lady g’s every step, the vamping models, and the talltalltall shoes, with very little on the actual clothes. so without further ado…
of course the clothes were going to address the house’s namesake’s heydey (and though jean paul gaultier and maison martin margiela have been doing a nice job filling the market gap in the meantime), we got a lot of that eighties sex and structure, all vertiginous shoes, sculptured shoulders, waists and hips emphasized.
cathy horyn of the nyt actually does a nice job in her review summing it all up: “But overall he created a Mulgerian silhouette—minimally rendered, as if with a quick pencil—and he stuck with that line. He had some gorgeous little fur jackets, one-shoulder jackets with a kind of super-figure sleeve that tapers to the wrist, and black, close-fitting dresses that seemed to peel away from a sheer second skin. The collection was mostly in black, white, pale beige and Mulger’s royal blue, and there were some molded plastic show pieces, as well as animal prints.”
and the guardian also does a nice job of, in a less fashion-inclined paragraph, describing the spectacle: “Models careered between fake gothic arches wearing corsets, PVC leggings, black tailoring with pinched, exaggerated shoulders and raccoon fur sleeves. The overall look could be described as taut and futuristic. The claw-like shoes were so high that some of the models stumbled but Lady Gaga, herself in impossibly high wedges, negotiated the theatrical catwalk with expertise, managing to dance as the sound system pumped out her new song Government Hooker.”
then, having alighted as they did on the clothes for a moment, quick as anything they were back to the music, the question of whether lady g made an appropriate model (most seemed thrilled by her appearance), and of course…
the requisite mentions of john galliano. shows that become lavish display inevitably draw comparisons to one another, whether they’re particularly alike in their designs or no, and as various people made mention of how the mugler show acted as balm for the dior wound, i wonder how long it will be before the subject of mr. formichetti stepping into galliano’s shoes (if not literally in the design sense, then at least figuratively in his place at pfw) will begin.
the thing is, and what i’ve been trying to get at this entire review, is that the clothes don’t really matter. of course they will sell; the thierry mugler show featured lady g, silly! though i’d like to say that in fashion design is the bottom line, unfortunately, it isn’t. ultimately it feels more a popularity contest (at least in the larger fashionie circles) of who can stage the loudest display, pull the most important celebrities of the moment. this is a main reason i’m such a proponent of a move away from star gossip—because perhaps without it, we’d be more focused on talent alone. but until then, it will be all shine and smoke, lady g singing her hits in a lurex bodysuit on a flashing stage. and nothing else really matters.