One question must have been niggling away at Nicola Formichetti's mind for a good few months now: what does the Mugler woman wear in summer? Winter is a no-brainer after all - body-throttling tailoring and a few jackets with overhanging shoulders like the Chrysler gargoyles. But how would this uber-vixen dress when the weather gets as hot as she is?
Formichetti had a simple solution - why not take the Mugler woman to another planet? Thierry would certainly approve, as his demi-couture excursions rarely seem terrestrially bound. So for spring 2012 we opened with a video of Gaga (oh la la) as a triple-headed space vixen welcoming us to Planet Mugler. Oh, and telling us not to fuck with it. Well, we wouldn't dream of it.
Especially not when dressed like this. Formichetti and womenswear head Sébastien Peigné understandably lightened the look for summer, chop-alot frocks in structured jersey lapping around the body in shades of desert sand. The anti-gravitational nature of that scissorwork was the impressive thing, jackets suspended from barely-there strips of fabric, a bodice lashed together with snippets of strategic jersey, a hipbone looped and left naked by a trouser's cut-out. Occasionally, those organic forms left the garments looking they looked less like true-to-life fabric and more like primordial ooze poured across the models' bodies.
Much of the creations on show owed a debt to the sci-fi imagery of Dune, and even a touch of Star Wars - Planet Mugler seems to be a satellite with little or no natural precipitation. But those neutral shades also chime with our idea of a summer wardrobe: Yves Saint Laurent Saharienne is probably a step too far, but Formichetti and Peigné certainly tapped into the safari vibe many have been feeling for next season. Here, it was expressed not through khaki cotton but strapless, precision-cut dresses wrapping the form, and even a few boulder-shoulder jackets in summer whites which managed not to look passé (with our eyes and brains fully-adjusted to the big shoulder as last season, that was quite an achievement). If that all sounds a little soft-core, fret not - of course they kept the Mugler woman's trademark viciousness. You need only check the shoes for that, patent-leather court shoes resting on tiny platforms and with savage, hypodermic needle-heels. They took the pointy-point stiletto shoe shape of the season to an almost illogical extreme.
That's what Mugler has always been best at, and like the man himself Formichetti and Peigné work best at full fantastical throttle, with no consideration for reality. A foray into print wasn't as successful as one may have hoped, with Day Of The Triffids-style vegetation printed across pellucid satin. Those looked a little anaemic next to the rest of this arresting post-apocalyptic vision. But when Mugler's army of models marched out like an alien invasion at the show's climax, you realised just how potent and powerful that vision can be.