The once indomitable House of Mugler has taken its fair share of knocks in recent years while it’s been dragged back and forth through the brand identity crisis bush. It’s not so much a matter of dissociative identity, more like a slew of creative directions who haven’t really got the strength to tangle with Mugler or the conviction to see it go places in the future. Along with SS15 comes renewed interest for the house in the form of a designer who more or less understands what should make the brand tick in 2014, Georgian-born David Koma.
Working his magic power maven touch for the house has brought Mugler back into the lexicon of fashion that is meant to be taken seriously. Taking Mugler too seriously in light of its iconic hot couture heritage instantly proposes a little bit of an impossibility though. Soon enough though, Koma was able to make it just sexy and contemporary enough for it to gain the momentum it needs for its grande dame worthy comeback. Many of the designer’s choices for his much anticipated debut were rooted in the elegance of classics that linger around an age when dress took a whole lot more dedication.
Around two weeks ago when Koma presented his eponymous SS15 collection in London, the question on everyone’s lips was how it would differentiate itself from his Mugler output, now one need only look to said roots for that. Dresses were suitably sinuous and came with even more restrained sex appeal courtesy of peekaboo cut-outs, strings of metallic belting hugging the body and some seriously sleek suits. Koma then tried to fan the flame with a sanguine flame print, but the fire burnt out far too quickly and it was back to business as usual after all but two looks that should have been expanded on.
Overall it was promising progress though and second to that, it’s simply exciting to see the Mugler woman back in action, depicted very well, considering how bland much of the creative direction felt, by the likes of Georgia May Jagger, 20 or so years after her mother burnt up the Thierry Mugler runway, Karlie Kloss and Jessica Stam. However, it’s hard not to shake the doubt that Mugler isn’t a name that will survive if it’s too detached from the glamazonian glitz that made it, perhaps Koma should think carefully about learning to tell more of a story through choice of clothing.
Many news sources have been quick to opine on Koma’s debut, with one in particular clumsily asserting something along the lines of Koma bringing back the Mugler woman to the structured “sexy yet demure” aesthetic that it’s famous for. They might want to remind themselves that the dictionary definition of demure involves being “reserved, modest and shy”. If Mugler was, and should be, anything, it wasn’t and isn’t demure. Frankly it’s scary that there isn’t really anything out there at the moment for a woman who doesn’t want to be defined by being reserved, modest, shy or, god forbid, sporty, something which Koma felt impelled to attribute to his new Mugler girl. In future, we’d like to see her return to being a woman.
by Liam Feltham
Images courtesy of Style.com