Investigating fashion designers established prior to 1990, I have chosen Mugler as my design mentor. I will be looking at the brand’s more recent work under the creative direction of Nicola Formichetti whose work displays much more sports inspiration than earlier Mugler collections. However to better outline the development of the brand handwriting I will also look at Thierry Mugler’s earlier work.
Starting with Thierry Mugler’s Autumn/Winter 1990/1991 collection the work demonstrates the handwriting of the founder Thierry Mugler. I have sourced images earlier work from the book Thierry Mugler by Francois Baudot. Mugler’s earlier work were body conscious and structured, and parts of the collection drew on a futuristic mood, which ties in with my graduate collection research into the posthuman. The use of bodycon lines for example (below, centre), resembles computer graphics, and the three-dimensional ‘Rubber Robot’ below (left) clearly references a mechanical being. The fabric choice within this collection involve juxtaposition of structured opaque textures with softer sheer fabrics.
Next, I fast forwarded to the work of Nicola Formichetti. The Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear collection illustrates Mugler’s surreal handwriting and distorted silhouettes, but Formichetti has relaxed the silhouette and injected a sporty dimension into the brand. The colour palette, consisting mainly of violet-greys, black, white, silver and some subtle and bright earthy colours. The silhouette is mostly top heavy; loosely fitted and somewhat distorted. Formichetti explores fabrication, juxtaposing textures: matte, shiny and velvet. Sporty motifs are explored: cut outs on unconventional surfaces (below, third), surreal panel lines (below, right), layers, surreal organic cut (below, second) and unconventional use of a hood (below, left). Similar to what I will be exploring in my graduate work, the form is distorted throughout the collection utilising various cuts: exaggerated collars (below, left) and sleeve shaping (below, third).
The next collection I looked at is Formichetti’s Resort 2013 collection. True to Mugler handwriting this collection is structured, but again with clear sport influences. Futurism is again depicted, with the aid of rounded structures and a minimal colour palette of white, grey, black, some red and a drop of yellow.
The silhouettes within the collection are based on distortion of the form, so whilst garment sections sit close the the form (usually at the waist) external areas such as the limbs are exaggerated (left, right) or the shoulders and hemline (above, centre). Static futurism is created with the use of stiff fabrication, however drape is also used in small portions to inject balance.
In terms of cut, curves are essential to the collection, from silhouette to panel shape. The curved lines utilised are exaggerated and flow awkwardly along the body, dissecting the form. The use of contrast panel fabrics and hemline shaping suggest sport inspired aesthetics. The sleeve structure (above, right) suggests sporting inspired padding or protective gear.
The next collection I looked at Resort 2012, I feel had strong links with my own aesthetic. The colour palette, mostly white and neutral based introduces some interesting brights, such as this mint colour below (left). No more than one bright or pastel colour is introduced into each look bring focus to this use of colour. This is something I have noticed within my own palette where I tend to avoid several colours at once.
Sports inspiration is visible within this collection from the futuristic hem shaping of various shirts to the cut and cut out of the jackets. Shape and cut outs have been explored within this collection. The length and cut of the ankle and skirt hems however remain perfectly uniform linking the looks into a cohesive collection.
There is use of fabric contrasts in several measures, such as contrast of transparency and textures (above, right) or contrast of colour and tone (above and below, left). Along with silhouettes that hover around the form, majority of fabrics used appear to be lightweight and of medium stiffness. Hence overrall giving the collection a light, playful mood.
This collection has some strong correlations with my own work (in terms of pattern, cut and silhouette) as well as other mentors who I have looked at, such as Dion Lee. The shapes and cut used within this collection create a futuristic but casual aesthetic, which effectively ties in with the theme and focus of my graduate collection.
The last Mugler collection I looked at is the Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear collection, which echos qualities of earlier work by Thierry Mugler. The colour palette is minimal with all garments black and white, except one yellow and one red dress. This silhouettes explored were a range of fitted and dramatic boxed wedge.
An enormous variety of fabrication has be explored within this collection, shiny, matte, sheer, opaque, fur, fringe, soft, sculpted, printed and stretch. By keeping a limited colour palette however Formichetti manages to draw together this collection of fabric confetti.
Extensive attention is given to cut and pattern, these include minute details such as shaped straps (below, centre), or large cut-outs exposing the leg. From structural cuts that create illusion (see shoulder of look below, left), to shaped panels which juxtapose fabric textures, this collection explores pattern cutting at various levels.
Sports influences are seen in the various bodycon panel lines and the use futuristic shoulder shaping to distort the body.
Reviewing these collections, it seems that the work of Nicola Formichetti for Mugler appears to be focused on cut and shaping. This is likely to be due to the handwriting of the label of figure accentuation and distortion, which is something I wish to explore within my graduate collection.
The work of Formichetti appears to have much stronger sports inspired focus than that of his predecessor Thierry Mugler, however what remains true to the Mugler name is exploration of form and shape. Muglers’s use of shape within design has ensured that Mugler collections appear futuristic and out of the norm. This is something I wish to explore, in extending my own pattern cutting skills to apply originality to my graduate collection.