Casey Cadwallader had a red carpet coup last month when Chloë Sevigny wore a Mugler gown of his design to the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die. Strapless, with a sculpted ivory bodice above a curvy column of black with a hip-grazing slit, it was accompanied by long black gloves that wrapped around the neck harness-style.
“Drama is a word I’m not that comfortable with, but it’s one I’m trying to embrace,” he said. “It’s part of the Mugler DNA.” It applies to Sevigny’s premiere dress and to the entirety of the label’s new Resort collection. Having shed the last vestiges of his former places of employ, Cadwallader brought a new clarity to this lineup. It looked definitively Mugler, but without succumbing to retro derivativeness. One example: the hourglass dresses with soft corsetry structure at the midsection. “They’re not uncomfortable to wear this way,” he explained. Also on point: jackets and coats with padded accents at the hips but otherwise quite exacting tailoring. He’s realized that exaggerated shoulders together with accentuated hips can be overpowering for some women. Which is why he’s also made a new, more fitted version of his clever spiral-cut jeans.
Cadwallader cast a diverse array of characters, including a bodybuilder, vogueing dancers from the Paris House of Mugler, and the fortysomething model Debra Shaw. That sense of inclusivity is another way he’s moving the label forward.