Pre-fall 2019 is Casey Cadwallader‘s fourth season at Mugler, and I’ve finally become convinced that this entire reinvention struggle is worth it. It seems that a house like Mugler is so trapped in its one, distinct, crazy era, that it can’t be possibly taken out to the light in 2019 without being a sort of mock. Nicola Formichetti didn’t succeed, David Koma neither. But Cadwaller, the new creative director coming from the U.S., seems to be taking the right track. “I’m still trying to figure out who my icons are and what people come to the brand for,” said Casey Cadwallader during his presentation. He invited Cardi B to his spring-summer 2019 show, and whether you love her or not, she looked marvelous in that blazer. Pure, powerful confidence. That might be a hint. But it seems that Casey doesn’t want to solely operate on a celebrity customer base. He wants to get to the stores, and dress women, that simply speaking, want to look their best. It’s a style and attitude philosophy close as much to Cardi as to Thierry Mugler. Meaning, very, very close.
Back to this blazer. It comes up for pre-fall, and looks fire. The shoulders are big, the waist is cinched, the sleeves slightly elongated. This strong silhouette can be compared to Mugler’s original creations that were equally statuesque and bold. But it’s not the end of the highlights. A blue body-con dress in synthetic jersey had a wetsuit zip and patches of compression material… this arrangement was external here but applied from inside in other garments. The designer called it his “secret compression corset.” “Compression” leggings were a version of Thierry’s iconic corsetry reimagined for today’s athleisure obsessives. Other than the glamo-sportiness, we’ve got as well some very good denim, patchworked dresses, neons and men’s capsule (which feels a bit pushed). So, Mugler might be the new big thing with Mr. Cadwaller. Please, give this guy time to grow. Just look at the Paco Rabbanne case, where Julien Dossena needed few longer seasons to experiment and to really start bringing the brand to desirable relevance.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.