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6 Dec

Meet Casey Cadwallader, Mugler’s New Artistic Director

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Today, Mugler joins the fold of brands that are switching up their lead creative teams. The French label just announced that American designer Casey Cadwallader has officially taken the reigns as artistic director of the house, while David Koma, who has held the position since 2013, has left to pursue his own label in London.

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 04: A model walks the runway during the Acne Studios Ready to Wear fashion show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2017/2018 on March 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 04: A model walks the runway during the Acne Studios Ready to Wear fashion show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2017/2018 on March 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Cadwallader is an interesting, if unexpected, choice to lead the house. The designer originally studied architecture (just like founder Thierry Mugler) before an internship at Marc Jacobs prompted him to make a career switch to fashion. In the 17 years since, he has held positions at Loewe, Narciso Rodriguez, and Acne Studios, proving that he is quite flexible when it comes to working with different house styles—something that will be important now that he’s in charge of a label with a look as distinct as Mugler.

Lady Gaga walks the runway during the Thierry Mugler Ready to Wear Autumn/Winter 2011/2012 show during Paris Fashion Week at Gymnase Japy on March 2, 2011 in Paris, France.
Lady Gaga walks the runway during the Thierry Mugler Ready to Wear Autumn/Winter 2011/2012 show during Paris Fashion Week at Gymnase Japy on March 2, 2011 in Paris, France.

Thierry Mugler’s aggressive, over-the-top aesthetic became an icon of lavish 1980s fashion. His corsets and use of materials, like latex, brought a sense of theatricality to the runway. In the early 2000s, he even worked with Beyoncé for her “I Am…World Tour,” and designed pieces for Cirque du Soleil. In 2010, Nicola Formichetti took the reigns of the house, and made a splash by casting Lady Gaga on the runway. But it wasn’t meant to last, and in 2013 Koma stepped in as artistic director, overseeing the opening of a new Paris flagship boutique for the house.

Where Formichetti’s vision of the line infused Mugler’s original aesthetic with a more youthful, street style lean, Koma went slightly more mainstream, offering sleek and angular takes on suits and dresses. Now with Cadwallader’s appointment, it appears the house might be going back to the sensibilities of its founder.

“His determination and unique sensitivity to Mugler’s artistic and experimental heritage will enable us to pursue the renewal of the House in the long term,” said Sandrine Groslier, the president of Clarins Fragrance Group and Mugler Fashion, in a statement. “We are confident that his personal vision and talent will position Mugler amongst the most sought-after avant-garde fashion brands of today.”

Congratulations, Casey—we look forward to your debut!

Hannah Kim
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