A Mugler resort collection feels like a contradiction in terms. After all, this was the label that re-engineered a Harley chassis into a heavy metal bustier, that suspended chiffon frocks from nipple-rings and wrapped up a septuagenarian Cyd Charisse in crystal-crusted radzimir. That was for the couture-obsessed nineties, but new blood Nicola Formichetti has a similar sense of showmanship - he engineered his last womenswear show for online streaming, trussed his models on the highest heels we've seen outside of Wigstock and catapulted Lady Gaga onto the catwalk in a latex flying-saucer hat. What could the team of Formichetti and Mugler do to shock us next? Well, make some incredibly wearable clothes, maybe?
This was Mugler's first resort collection - not only under Formichetti, but ever - and the team seemed determined to tread a fine line between saleability and sensation. It's a wise move: the often-anodyne watered-down summer looks other labels proffer for Resort wouldn't cut it chez Mugler. After all, the Mugler woman isn't the kind to buy into a neat black suit or a beach kaftan. Nevertheless, there was an odd sense of 'resort' to this offering - witness the nude mesh panel in sharp knit dresses that seems outlined by silhouetted ferns, and the vivid shades of green - the same shade, which Formichetti dubbed 'digital blood', appeared in the menswear show. Indeed, there was a great deal of cross-over between Romain Kremer's menswear and this, womenswear head Sébastien Peigné's offering. All those fern-like shapes slashing their way across clothes and in the background of the press-shots reminded me of the lush yet controlled futuristic vegetation of seventies science fiction epic Logan's Run - and Formichetti used the music of Jessica 6, named after a character from that film, as a background to his x-rated menswear promo vid.
Retro-futurism is a Mugler signature, of course. But Thierry's original sci-fi silhouette of popped shoulders and restricted waist can today often seem old-hat, especially as it's been being revived since about 1997. This time, Formichetti and Peigné softened his shoulders, implying a sharp jut with a tab front on tunics, jackets and jumpsuits that projected at each side without pumping the volume too much. That was a recurring theme too - the impression of something extreme in a wearable garment: skirts and trousers sliced low along the pubis to attenuate the torso looked hardcore, but the same impression was achieved with an elongated silk shirt swooping anatomically across the hip. It softened that Mugler look, but still kept it razor-sharp - and was exactly the sort of thing you could imagine an off-duty Dominatrix donning while her metallic bustier is being buffed to perfection.