For spring-summer 2022, Casey Cadwallader reunited with Torso Solutions for the final installment of a trilogy of Mugler fashion films. Filmed in Los Angeles, the mind-bending video features a variety of vignettes that blend trippy glitches with the Mugler fierceness. There’s Megan Thee Stallion on a billboard; Chloë Sevigny doing a dip and turning into Barbie Swaee; Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta sharing a kiss; and two Bella Hadids. He also recently co-directed a music video for Megan and dressed Sevigny for her wedding after-party, both of which came about, he says, after working on this video. Four years on, Cadwallader has settled in. “In the beginning I was very serious and worried about everything, but there’s this need to be irreverent with Mugler,” he says. He’s leaning into that irreverence, and the video captures it by balancing irony and seriousness in a URL-era continuation of the shows Mr. Mugler put on. Less runway, more performance.
The collection is a strong exploration of his signature elements. Ombre body-con dresses suspended from sculpted collars referencing a 1998 haute couture dress feel fresh and directional. The denim is sharper and more aligned with Cadwallader’s shapewear, partly due to the transparency of the house’s “illusion tulle.” The fabric is a riff on Mr. Mugler’s segmented tailoring, which he made with fishing line. It has replaced Lycra in the denim and is being applied to the bodysuits. “This is the most bare collection I’ve done,” Cadwallader said with a laugh. “After this I’m going to dial it in a little bit.” A tied tailored jacket stands out. It can be worn criss-crossed or with the lapels pulled apart, as styled on Dominique Jackson. Versatility is something he makes a point of. “Not only is there a variety of people in the world, but there’s a variety within each person,” he said. “One can feel like they want to flaunt themselves at 10 p.m. and feel conservative at 10 a.m., or feel masculine at 10 a.m. and feminine at 10 p.m. I want to make clothes that can serve that.” The bareness might make his clothes feel niche, as if they were made exclusively for the stages they’re often seen on, but it’s this what makes them special. Who doesn’t want to feel like a pop star, at least part of the time? In today’s saturated market, niche is a great place to be. Cadwallader said he’s aware of the critique that “things look the same” in his collections. “But that’s what a signature is!” he said, laughing. “Everything is evolving over time and eventually we’ll work into more things.” As to what those will be, only he knows, but he said he’s “ready for some volume.” Also, he’s already thinking about his next video. “At a show you have, say, 500 people, but these videos…10 million people see them.” Social media has become key for fashion conversations, and with this format Mugler has leveled show-going editors and at-home spectators. “There’s this entertainment value and joy-giving to people that I don’t want to give up on. I feel a commitment to that now, so to bring it back to a closed room and keep people out is not an option for me.”
Last week, during my trip to Berlin, I finally had the chance to see Prada‘s spring-summer 2022 collection IRL at the brand’s flagship on Ku’damm. And, oh boy, these garments are so much better when you actually see them up close! The romance of up-scaled lace, the vibrance of neon silks, the beauty of vintage-y leathers. And of course, the masterful construction of each piece – which you truly comprehend once you touch them. “Seduction, Stripped Down” is the name Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons gave to their third, co-designed collection. In her notes, Prada said, “We thought of words like elegant – but this feels so old-fashioned. Really, it’s about a language of seduction that always leads back to the body. Using these ideas, these references to historical pieces, the collection is an investigation of what they mean today.” The historical ideas in question are the familiar tropes of womanhood, like bra cups and corsetry boning, made unconventional by how they were presented: on simple, even plain, sweaters or as details on denim coats. Duchesse satin sheaths read as almost demure until the dresses turn to reveal they are unbuttoned to the lower back, exposing peekaboo flashes of lingerie. The long evening column also got a rethink; it’s sliced above the knee, but a bow in back is extended to the floor. “That feels modern,” Simons stated in the collection’s press-notes. It really is!
Summer is coming so, so soon! How about a timeless Prada wardrobe reimagined, in hypercolor? Energetic and kinetic color – joyous, uplifting, free. Emerald, orange, vermillion, yellow – contrast with graphic black and white and soft greys. Motifs are direct – geometric stripes and bold checks, simple and linear. Tactile and precious silks, fine cashmeres, leather and kid mohair are used for relaxed styles expressive of summer – silk pyjamas, full skirts, abbreviated shorts and bra tops. Bodies are streamlined, dynamic, moving freely. Accessories are modern Prada archetypes – the Triangle handbag, baseball caps, bucket hats – recolored, therefore reenergized.
Jacquemus‘ spring-summer 2022 fashion show, presented on a cobalt catwalk cut across the sand of the Moli’i Gardens’s beach on the northern side of Oahu, was a beautiful outing that celebrated Hawaiian culture, community and nature. One said that the rainstorm, which postponed Jacquemus’s Hawaiian debut by about an hour and a half, could be interpreted as a blessing. When the rain cleared and the show started, an actual Hawaiian blessing was performed, giving thanks to the land, people, and history of this place. The sun faded into the Pacific; the waves lapped the shore. It was peaceful and without a cell phone in sight. Then came the fashion. Linen sets the color of sand opened the show, exploding into Hockney blue, shocking pink, and inky black swimwear by the end. Simon Porte Jacquemus’ proportions are intentionally abnormal – one part ruched, another cutaway. For spring 2022, he played with the shapes of scuba gear, cutting and winding unitards and bodysuits into tailoring. Some of the best dresses and trousers unfolded around one hip like a sarong, sexy and uncomplicated in their appeal. Backless blazers furthered the idea, though Jacquemus’s cargo trousers and board shorts might have a longer shelf life. Elsewhere, he played with short-over-long styling, garments worn in an illogical order for optimal optical appeal. He also introduced a new beadwork collaboration with the artist Tanya Lyons designed to look like water droplets.
The decision to take his runway show on the long road from France to Hawaii was a big step for Jacquemus and his brand. For some fashion followers, the choice to hold a destination show in a place connected with colonialism and tourism was a misstep – easily, the event could go “White Lotus“. But to many of the local guests in the audience, seeing a European designer arrive islandside was affirming. Along Waikiki’s main drag, luxury stores abound, and yet none of those designers have ever held a show on the island or maybe even set foot here. With the help of Hawaiian-born-and-raised stylist Ben Perreira and creative director Taylor Okata, Jacquemus worked to create a show that honored the local community. Only a handful of Jacquemus’s European staff traveled to the island, and only guests from the Pacific region and mainland United States were invited. Every model was local to the region, and for most, it was their first runway. The entire production crew was local. “Working in fashion, nothing has felt as fulfilling as this,” said Perreira preshow. “It’s time to speak about something else,” said Jacquemus of his choice to present his collection outside France. “I think the Jacquemus woman is not French – she is a sunny person. That’s what the brand is about: sharing, sun, love, and family.” The Jacquemus woman and man is also ironic, using a scuba snorkel as a handbag handle or wearing a leather floatie as an accessory. What’s next for the designer? “This is my last Pop collection,” he said. “Next season I am coming back to something super womanly, a new part of the Jacquemus identity.” It will be exciting to see where Jacquemus and his community of friends and collaborators go next.