Lady Gaga Loves Mugler, Carven’s Library Cocktails, and Pugh in the Flesh

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Published March 3, 2011

Lady Gaga walked twice at the Mugler revival last night—and the amazing thing is, that might just be enough to start the fashion party. The stylish showmanship of Nicola Formichetti and design talent of Sébastian Peigné, formerly of the Balenciaga design team, make a dynamic pair.  The one-color looks—tailoring, bodysuits, stockings, and shoes—veered from black and white to electric blue. Even the fur on one jacket was blue. Every occasion was taken to expose futuristic brassieres, in peach, white, or black patent, under see-through body stockings. One skirt was literally held up with a bra. Skirts and second-skin leggings zeroed in on the high-rise waist, probably the most Mugleristic style point in this collection. And fur is looking more like an accessory—here, it was a material of choice for sleeves, which sometimes didn’t even bother to show up with jackets. Even without fur, the new Mugler looks like a futuristic, alien animal, with plenty of artistic guest appearances from artists like Berlin’s Rein Vollenga, whose body sculptures showed up in this collection. Formichetti’s ability to spot talent and quickly sync it into the Mugler mix is a credit to the brand.

Fall is turning out to be a season of fur, but not for coats. For her Rue du Mail collection, Martine Sitbon used striped fur for huge, scarf-like collars flowing down the front of oversized fishnet body dresses, and she followed that up with bicolor fur sleeves on crunchy hourglass knits. The effect was a bit surreal, and the optical play continued with tailoring—pockets, lapels and collars—stitched down flat for 2-D-style dresses and jackets.Carven’s first show—which featured girls coming in and out of a series of doorways, while the audience sat comfortably sipping café at bistro tables—struck just the right young, Parisian, brainy-chic note Guillaume Henry is after. Post-show, Henry cited Simone de Beauvoir and Lee Miller as muses. Carven’s cropped, sharp-shoulder jackets and rounded skirts—some worn with bike shorts—are elegant, not precious. Throughout this clever gamine wardrobe, Henry has sprinkled great bits, like jackets with fur sleeves and cropped sweaters with heraldic lions roaring up and down the sleeves. Sexy plaid dresses with white collars and twisted-front shirtdresses look seductively studious—in a cocktail-at-the-library way.

Dries Van Noten mixed and matched his entire collection, combining three or more bold silk prints for dresses. Jackets and coats with chunky knit backs combine tailoring with the softness of a cardigan; and cable knits are bicolored, with a contrast neck and shoulders, for a layered look. While everyone is nipping and tucking for a perfect fit, Van Noten lets his silhouette hang loose to swing easily, almost haphazardly, over the body. By the end of the show he was back to David Bowie, the muse of his men’s collection, for glittery gold and black tailoring with a certain swagger.

When he presented a mini-collection with a film at Florence’s recent Pitti fashion fair, Gareth Pugh talked about the impossibility of pulling off the kind of out-of-this-world presentation he likes on a flesh-and-blood runway. But with the fashion world begging for a real-life view of his clothes, he gave in this season and returned to the world of here and now. Pugh backed up his show with a wall of flickering lights that echoed the collection, which was almost all black, punctuated with flashes of golden zippers and glittering gold stripes. The new jackets and coats in what looks like neoprene are branded across the chest with a cross of intersecting zippers. Pugh’s pointy hoods, bias collars, peplums, and skirts for these tough-tailored pieces give them a ghostly, floating-in-space look. Leather is sliced and stitched back together in geometric zigzags, and fur shows as a rich lining. Showing his soft side, Pugh picked the vivid blue he discovered in Florence while researching Renaissance art for swirling, bias coat dresses and saintly floating capes that flew behind simple black stretch dresses.

Undercover’s Jun Takahashi returned to the runway in quietly subversive form. This season, his bourgeois, beige minimalist look served as a perfect façade for a tailored jacket with a soft sweater back, or a stretch skirt with a denim miniskirt derriere. The back of one jacket revealed dangling bra straps, and a polite violet coat was subtly printed with shattered glass. The classic WWII vintage Okinawa satin patch jacket turned girlie with embroidered kittens, and for the finale, Takahashi covered knit pieces with a mantle of gold feathers—like some underground firebird.