Mugler Meets ‘Matrix’ in Glossy Looks for Women — and Men



    Mugler is ready to dive back into the men’s market. For its first official pre-collection in five years, the house expanded its gender-fluid offering to include its first menswear collection in more than a decade. The label’s collaboration with H&M last year paved the way for the move, which fits in with creative director Casey Cadwallader’s nonbinary approach to dressing.

     “For me, Mugler is always this really elastic expression of gender,” he said. 

    With storm clouds gathering on the economic and political horizons, his models were suited and booted in tough, glossy looks fit for “The Matrix.” A black rubber trenchcoat came with XXL shoulders that rivaled those of founder Manfred Thierry Mugler’s heyday, when he would photograph his extreme tailoring against New York skycrapers or Soviet statues.

    But while there were nods to the archives, including subtly notched lapels, these days the look is more about projecting inner strength, Cadwallader said. His jackets, which range from a boxy oversize style to an hourglass cut with curved sleeves, came with boning in the shoulders for extra definition.  

    “Mugler is about resilience under pressure and finding your own personal energy and joy and beauty through moments of resistance, whether that has to do with your identity or your expression, and the tough stuff that the world can throw at you,” he said.

    While this collection saw him easing away from the sporty pieces that have defined his tenure, the notion of comfort remained key. His corset top came with multiple buckles that can be worn tight, loose or dangling, depending on the wearer’s mood.

    “It’s quite tough and protective and at the same time, it’s thoroughly adjustable to your curves,” Cadwallader said. 

    The strappy look was echoed in the decorative buckles framing a backless black evening dress, and crossing the spine of a black tuxedo jacked that engulfed the frame. Now that menswear is back in the mix, the designer wants to make tailoring a pillar of the label once again — and the good news is, it works for everyone.

    “When we went to style this pre-collection, it really became everything in one room, both genders grabbing from both racks, which I think is just realistic these days,” he said. “It’s all one big happy mix over here.”

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