paris fashion week: thierry mugler

(images via vogue)

although i’ve admitted in the past (see a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, resort 2013, s/s 2013) to perhaps not being the most–er–impartial critic when it comes to thierry mugler, over the seasons, as it has appeared that lady g and even nicola formichetti have taken steps back in order to let design director sébastien peigné really take the stage, i’ve likewise much more significantly opened up to what the house has to offer. and so, for the a/w 2013 season at paris fashion week, while i’d probably never go so far as to say i was, like, a target customer, i’d nevertheless say there were some interesting looks that i was somewhat stirred by, at least.

although we’ll get to the critics reactions in a moment, i’d say i liked the looks best when they were played a little quieter and simpler, like, for example, the powdery lavender dress worn by melissa tammerijn, with a bodice that resembled a banana peel pulled back, or a structured, rather architectural black jacket worn with lean black trousers, both of which had a lovely, sculpted shape to them (though maybe the pants were bordering a little close on leggings for my tastes), with the little white cap that appeared something like a cross between a seventies science fiction film number (probably worn by the hot alien girls) and a babuskha.

and so, that was how messieurs formichetti and peigné opted to play it this season, and i’d say it served them well. perhaps they’ve realized that just having lady g attached isn’t going to cut it, or maybe we’ve just been seeing them seeking the right footing for the house, but it seems to me that keeping the more costume-y elements away from the actual clothes and onto the styling and maybe accessories was a wise move. after all, what do most kids actually purchase from designer lines? so perhaps channeling a lot of that futuristic energy into the accessories is the ultimate right way to go.

hmm. i don’t know, and i don’t want to overthink it. but suffice it to say i’d argue they still have a long way to go, with the fall range never exactly coalescing around a single, cohesive theme, and, interestingly enough, in a talk about the new line of (what else?) star wars and andy warhol-inspired (okay, maybe i was wrong about the hand lady g has in this business) accessories for the house, the iht‘s suzy menkes quoted mr. formichetti as saying that “(w)e relaunched the brand two years ago and we are still struggling to make it more affordable. But I think we are almost there — and it is very exciting.” so, yeah. they’re still trying to figure out who they–and their customers–are.

but maybe enough about all of that! let’s to the critics, then, yes? and so, in-keeping with some of my opinions, the washington post related that “(s)lick was the word. The gentle rounded shoulders and softer skirts, in soft gray, blue and peach, evolved away from the angular, insectoid-obsession that’s been almost haunting Mugler’s recent collections. It was a welcome change, which made for a ladylike vibe — in line with this season’s trend. Contrasts, such as soft peach fur on champagne satin, made one gentle look sparkle. The odd geometric print — used sparingly — added the signature futuristic edge, as did neat bonnets on the heads. Keeping it simple seems to suit Formichetti: it’s one of the strongest collections he’s done.”

and in a pretty hardcore analysis that often makes me look soft, the examiner opined that “(t)he current offering looks to me like a bowl of oatmeal and lumpy oatmeal at that. It is abject silliness to think that these clothes bear the name that once embodied hard edged brilliantly conceived clothes…These 2 are more worried about Gaga or some other 3rd rate performer than they are about perpetuating a legendary brand; they are barely designers let alone stylists and every time they stray from the original DNA, they fail miserably as it always looks like some poor relation to what once was. Where is the sexuality, the eroticism and the B&D edge of these clothes?”

“Always sculptural and space age-y, this season’s palette was mostly pastel, with structured, big sleeved skirt suits in baby blues, yellow, peach, and pale pinks. A light blue skirt suit’s cropped jacket had a popped collar that framed the neckline; a similar look in light grey had lapels that curved like upside-down wings,” offered fashion week daily. “A black vinyl pencil skirt suit, for example, cinched at the waist and paired with a white chapeau that lent the appearance of a flying nun’s hat, for cheeky contrast. Sumptuous pale peach fur coats came with cut outs, to reveal sensual, body-clinging matching silk dresses underneath and a strapless cocktail dress’s breast line peeled back like a blossoming flower for subtly seductive hints.”

and then, finally, there was style, reflecting that “(t)e most successful looks used fabric from the suppliers Crevacuore, known for their luxurious mid-century style, shown in the peach crushed bouclé or the gradations of gray cashmere in the opening…Where things seemed to be on a less firm footing was in the dresses and the more self-consciously futuristic pieces, which displayed something of an overly experimental approach by the designer when the template seemed already nicely set. The last looks of the show displayed discipline once more—the monastic air of an earthbound handmaiden this time, as opposed to the airborne one at the beginning. She seemed the darker and less idealistic sister. If only they had come together sooner.”

(see the catwalk finale video here)

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