Gods do walk among us. Some even sit front-row. On each place at today's Mugler presentation was Brothers of Arcadia, a mini-magazine of sorts, art directed and styled by Mugler creative director Nicola Formichetti and shot by Branislav Jankic, starring impossibly buff, often entirely nude men, chiseled as Greek gods and modeled after same, frolicking in the surf, entwining themselves in rope, and flexing in every imaginable position. One of those Arcadian brothers—Mr. Centerfold, no less—lolled in his seat, waiting for the show to start. If you looked up and down the long aisle, you could see editor after editor looking from the page to the guy and then back. They ain't seen nothing yet. Tomorrow, an uncensored short film from the same shoot will premiere on XTube, the YouTube of porn. Formichetti called it a "moving mood board." In the mood yet?
After the show, Formichetti described the full mix of inspirations that fed this collection: the fabulists of Italian cinema, Fellini and Pasolini; Japanese comics; the heroic, masculine aesthetic of Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber; sport; Greek mythology. "This season, I put more of myself into it," he said. That's a lot of oneself to cram into any collection. Accordingly, Greek gods, muscle-bound frat boys, tattooed punks, and sylph-ish male models all took their turn down the catwalk, often spattered in glitter. The first boy out sported a pair of giant bronze Iron Man arms.
Despite all the trappings, though, the collection largely boils down to salable items: stonewashed skinny jeans, pleated shorts, T-shirts, swimwear. Formichetti spoke of doing something "a little more real," but the danger is, without the theatrics, they may also look a little more ho-hum. The strongest bits here coupled wearability with oddity, like the bifurcated tailored jackets that opened the show. Sliced open at the waist, their top and bottom halves held together by a strip of transparent latex shot through with a rip-cord drawstring, they married old and new. So did the green glow that surrounded the show—from the lighting to the collection's palette—an acidic, minty shade. "That green represented the blood of the digital era," Formichetti said. "If this technology has a kind of color, for me it was a neon green." Arcadia, electrified. It was taken directly from the Thierry Mugler archive.