Casey Cadwallader’s tenure at Mugler has coincided with a renewed fascination with Thierry Mugler’s vintage work from the ’80s and ’90s. To a generation weaned on hoodies and leggings, the house founder’s exaggerated proportions and twisted glamour are super seductive. In turn, it seems that the culture’s embrace of legacy Mugler pieces has emboldened Cadwallader. With its extreme tailoring and endorsement of the pantsless look—Bella Hadid opened the show in a cropped jacket, net corset, and derrière-lifting stockings, that’s it—this collection was his most Muglerian to date.
Backstage, Cadwallader clarified: “It’s also the most me.” For background, Cadwallader came up via Narciso Rodriguez’s studio, and he currently moonlights for the ski brand Aztech Mountain; he knows his own way around a scalpel-sharp jacket, and he’s familiar with performance fabrics. Those tools prevented the collection from looking retro. Cadwallader’s modern casting also gave it an edge. Hadid was representing for the supermodel contingent, but inclusivity of color, size, gender identity, etc., was the name of the game here. Even the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black’s Kembra Pfahler took a runway turn.
The front row contingent was just as diverse, from Kelela to Violet Chachki to Paloma Elsesser. What might they be tempted by for their next big night out? Maybe a black blazer bra, which fastens with a hook-and-eye underneath the bust in front, and a pair of low-slung trousers to show off some toned abs? Or an LBD with half of its bias-cut skirt cut away? Or a body-con dress with ruching that accentuates curves instead of diminishing them? Pfahler got one of the show’s only low-key looks—a girl can’t be naked in blue body paint all the time. Her corseted blouson jacket and textured leggings looked good.
BY NICOLE PHELPS
September 25, 2019