Is the digital tide turning? Mugler creative director Nicola Formichetti—the man who practically lived on Twitter, and never had a show he wouldn't live-stream—fought his usual urge this season. "I didn't do any live-streaming, any of those things," he said after the show today. "I just want to concentrate. I want to unplug from Wi-Fi, so I went under the sea." Maybe the tide isn't turning so much as rising. His aquatic theme was expressed in colors (oyster, sand, coral, and seafoam, he called them) and in materials (like an oily leather "jellyfish fabric").
The show was an unexpected homage to suiting. Formichetti changed the house tailoring studio to exert more control, and displayed the fruits of their labor with a nearly single-minded focus. (He also gave credit where credit was due, listing the names of the full studio team on his show notes.) The look was sharp, with structured shoulders, no lapels, and attached, cutout tops revealing shards of skin, which had the look of exoskeletons. A quiet echo of Helmut Lang floated over both the tailoring and the cutouts, not least because they were presented at the Espace Commines, Lang's old show space of choice. But Lang had a more elegant rigor, whereas Mugler's slices, pleats, fins, and pockets pointed to a stylist's trickiness. Pare them back, though, and you'd agree with Formichetti that diving into the depths was, in effect, going "back to reality." "It's much more wearable than ever," he added. Indeed, underwater theme or no, the collection felt closer than it ever has to standing on solid ground. And whether Formichetti likes it or not, it's bound to go viral. A woman with a digital camera strapped to her forehead like a spelunker's headlamp (a blogger, presumably) set Formichetti in her sights moments after the show.