Connie Girl Seasons The Dolls at the Launch of Mugler H&M

RED ALERT! The legendary Connie Girl Fleming returns to the Mugler catwalk at the Park Avenue Armory for the brand’s freshly launched H&M collaboration. Thirty years on, her iconic turn in that red cowgirl look has still never left our feeds. As a model, artist, runway coach and guardian of the most exclusive doors in the city, Connie is still showing the girls exactly how it’s done. I caught up with Connie backstage and we dished on collabs, runway walks and the most important lesson she learned from Thierry Mugler himself.


DARA: How’s it been, getting ready and everything?

CONNIE GIRL: It’s been show energy. Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. But it’s been really beautiful being involved in the second wave of Mugler, and I feel like it’s such a beautiful testament to Manfred and his vision—the way Casey [Cadwallader] has sort of taken that DNA and expanded it.

DARA: He’s really captured a new generation, a new audience.

CONNIE GIRL: Yes. And I know Thierry, wherever he is, is just smiling and so proud of his own work and how it has shaped the world.

DARA: I was so happy to see you in the H&M campaign. When you pop up it’s such a surprise moment.

CONNIE GIRL: I got to work with Jerry Hall.

DARA: Oh my goodness.

CONNIE GIRL: I was like, “Maybe you can ask her one question about Antonio Lopez.” And then I chickened out. But next time.

DARA: Tonight, maybe?

CONNIE GIRL: Hopefully.

DARA: What was the inspiration behind the beauty look tonight?

CONNIE GIRL: I think it’s linear, but there’s a softness to it, and there’s that Mugler energy of power.

DARA: Gorge. How does it feel to be working with Mugler in this new era?

CONNIE GIRL: Oh, it feels like the work that was done when I started is now having a moment to flourish.

DARA: It’s come to fruition. I’ve never really had the chance to tell you this, but I feel so grateful to you for showing us all how it’s done. I don’t feel like I would be able to do what I do without you setting the path. That leads me to my next question. Are models still serving?

CONNIE GIRL: As a runway coach and someone who tries to impart the walk, the walk for Calvin Klein isn’t the walk for Versace. I’m a little taken aback by people not giving girls the right instruction in the moment. The show energy is still there, but with the democratization of fashion—you know when you’re seasoning something? There’s salt, put a pinch of pepper in there, maybe a little bit of adobo, a Goya seasoning, paprika. It all depends on what house. I think watering down and dumbing down doesn’t really need to happen in fashion.

DARA: It takes time to season a girl.

CONNIE GIRL: It does. It takes time for a girl to know how to remove a coat.

DARA: To command.

CONNIE GIRL: And to still keep eye contact with the camera and with the audience. I think sometimes it’s just, “Put her out there.”

DARA: Mm-hmm. They get thrown in the deep end.

CONNIE GIRL: And it doesn’t serve your collection to throw someone in the deep end. Like, some of the videos, it’s cringe-worthy when you see a girl fall out of her shoes. It’s just like, “For real? You did that to her or she did that to herself.”

DARA: Do you think much has changed when it comes to diversity on the runway?

CONNIE GIRL: Yes, there’s been a lot of really great changes. You are an incredible change in this business. I could cry when I see you in campaigns, when I see you being embraced by Interview Magazine.

DARA: How do you feel about the new H&M collab? Is accessibility in fashion something we should be striving for?

CONNIE GIRL: It’s wonderful that we have come to this moment in fashion that you cannot only buy into the perfume, but also save up for that pair of red bottoms. These are blood shoes.

DARA: We can wear them to the club, too.

CONNIE GIRL: Yes. It’s like Karl Lagerfeld, rest in peace, taking high and low and using our creativity to mix them. It’s a chance to follow your dream and go into that label that you’ve been fiending for and striving for. I think this gives you a little bit more of a push to go for the higher level. And I think it’s beautiful.

DARA: When I was in high school and all these collaborations were popping up, that was kind of my access point. At the mall, it was all I could see in person.

CONNIE GIRL: I want to bring a cattle prod or a taser because I knew the kids were going to be out. I mean, I’m going to bring security to this one.

DARA: Oh my god, work. Did Thierry ever give you any memorable advice or direction when it came to the catwalk?

CONNIE GIRL: We were shooting, it was the second time that I shot with him, and we were in White Sands. We put something on and he was like, “Oh, I just wish you had more color in your skin.” He’s like, “All you black girls, you lighten up your makeup. But when your skin drinks in the sun, the undertones of gold and red and blue, they shine so much more.” And that stuck in my mind.

DARA: That’s so beautiful.

CONNIE GIRL: To have him say that my skin, when it’s darker, blossoms more and shows more of the color—I can’t remember if I was wearing lavender or something like that but he was like, “Can you stay a couple of extra days and just sit out in the sun?” And then we took that photo at the end and I was just like, “Wow.”

DARA: Oh my god.

CONNIE GIRL: That was maybe in ’93, so I don’t know if Iman had come out with her line with the range of foundation colors yet, but that always stuck in my mind.

DARA: A lesson we should all learn.

CONNIE GIRL: Definitely.

DARA: I love you so much. You’ve got to get back to rehearsal. I can’t wait to see tonight. I’m going to be screaming so loud for you.

CONNIE GIRL: Thank you, thank you, thank you.