>> Thierry Mugler and new Mugler creative director Nicola Formichetti have more than a couple of things in common — neither studied fashion or have any formal design training, and both have strong ties to the pop culture world: Mugler directed and costumed the 1992 George Michael “Too Funky" music video, and more recently did costumes for Beyonce's 2009 tour, while Formichetti works as Lady Gaga's stylist. As Formichetti sums it up: “He was a kind of pop culture punk in a fashion world — and that’s me."
But despite all the similarities, Formichetti was apprehensive about taking the job: "I thought, How can you do something better than Thierry Mugler? He was a fashion god." He continued: “At first I thought I couldn’t do anything better than he did, so I didn’t want to do it. And then I said, 'F*ck it, I’m going to do my thing.'”
So how is he attacking his new role? He oversees two design directors: Sebastien Peigne, a 10-year Balenciaga veteran of Balenciaga, for women’s, and Romain Kremer, who has shown experimental looks under his own label since 2005, for men’s. Formichetti knows how to sketch, he says, but he prefers to work like a stylist, manipulating the clothes and working as a team with Peigne and Kremer to build the desired image. He also looks to the streets and friends for input and inspiration: “I feel more like a curator than a designer. It’s all about different characters and collaborations.”
One of those friends giving input? None other than Lady Gaga, who he says will be involved in his debut women's collection at the upcoming Paris Fashion Week. But she doesn't have a contract with the brand: “It’s me and her just having fun and getting very inspired from the idea of Mugler. She’s very much involved, more in the early stages.” And though she wasn't front row at the men's show today (she created its soundtrack), Formichetti has already created custom Mugler costumes for her upcoming album art, videos, and performances.
The label will be called Mugler instead of Thierry Mugler under Formichetti, and he's reining in his editorial and consulting work, aside from his role as fashion director of Vogue Hommes Japan. "I want people to get excited again, not only fashion people,” Formichetti says of his vision. “I’m not here to re-create what [Thierry Mugler] did. It was perfect for the time. I’m going to do something for today and the future . . . I want to give dreams and fantasy and all those things — and I want people to wear those clothes.”
And he's big on online — forget the usual magazine exclusives, seasonal campaigns and geographic rollouts: “I want to be global, but I want to be digital, instant, direct. I don’t want it to be a ‘normal’ fashion brand. We are always punk and outsider. The great thing about the online world is it’s instant: You get feedback; the feelings of consumers and fans.”