As the instalment of new creative directors go, there’s been a strong success rate in Paris of late. Cast your mind back to two years ago, and there was quite the musical chairs situation going on: from Balenciaga to Carven and all the dots in between – Nina Ricci, Mugler, Guy Laroche, Saint Laurent. Of this mass shake-up – namely young and new names at established heritage houses – there have been a few casualties. Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudad are out at Carven, and Peter Copping left Oscar de la Renta for which he had left Nina Ricci to join.
But generally, it’s not all bad news.
The Mugler Fall/Winter 2017 ready-to-wear show in Paris (by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)
David Koma has seriously got to work at putting Mugler back on track with wearable clothes that both appeal to the hallmarks of the house as well as the customer. One only has to look at the women sitting opposite them at the show to see he has made this a label with a strong following, he’s made it modern and relevant for what it is. For who doesn’t want to feel sexy? The right figure-hugging dress is always welcome in a wardrobe. That said, Koma’s Fall/Winter 2017 collection was a throwback to old-school Mugler and those sharp shoulder shapes that should come with a warning sign attached to them. Perhaps that was meant to be the equally killer, also gorgeous, shoes on this occasion.
“I felt I really wanted to work on a very strong silhouette, but at the same time make it relevant to every day. I looked at the iconic Mugler star which, as you know, is a certain symbol for me. When I was a kid I looked at this star and imagined this huge legacy, it was a big thing for me,” explained Koma backstage after the show. “I loved all the angular shapes and it’s very me at the same time, so we started with this idea of the deconstructed constellation framing the body but in a kind of abstract way.”
Indeed, kapow-star shapes framed rather than attacked the body, and did so via tight and short dresses, some with inserted pleats that brought a required fluidity to break up all of the rigidity. Koma tapped back into the serious power tailoring and as the song lyrics blared out “I don’t want to seduce you”, you couldn’t help but agree – these women were more likely to crush you.
Silver, cobalt blue (a runaway favourite among the Paris shows this season), acid green and tangerine: Koma kept close to the palette he’d explored for his own eponymous collection back in London, which is actually makes for quite a good idea. They’re different collections, of course, but come from the same mind, and from someone who seemed destined to sit in the Mugler role. It was also a good strategy to move on from the lithe and lovely dresses that have been his calling card of late, this added a bit of punch.
The Nina Ricci Fall/Winter 2017 ready-to-wear show in Paris (by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION)
Meanwhile over at Nina Ricci, Guillaume Henry proved more than his worth for the house – this a sexy collection of real clothes. The colours were beautiful – lemon yellow, bubble gum pink, a baby blue-turquoise, nude, peach, navy and black (another favourite colour combination of Paris Fashion Week), and the looks seductive and desirable. Be that through the sinuous sequin-dipped dresses or the slightly oversized trenches that were bunched, gathered and fixed at the cuff.
There was a slight Western undertone for yoke collars and shirting and even the semi-saccharine palette. Lace tights were retro and there were little bralettes and strings of lace, all those boudoir signatures the house is so known for, but entirely updated. Henry managed to sexify a collection that was also feminine and pretty: this was stellar.
Paris' new chapter is working out well.