Powerful Femininity: Casey Cadwallader's Debut for Mugler

Today, Mugler's Creative Director Casey Cadwallader showcased his debut runway collection in Paris and therewith propelled the French brand on a new, promising path. Cadwallader's take on femininity was certainly the most inclusive and freeing one in Mugler's history so far. While respecting the brand's heritage, the designer and his atelier played with body language, deconstructed apparent structures – both physical and metaphorical ones – and experimented with fabrics and cuts in order to elevate the identity of the Mugler woman. We met Casey Cadwallader backstage and discussed his new design vision for Mugler. 

Casey Cadwallader at the finale of the Mugler Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION. 

On playing with Mugler's heritage 

I did a lot of thinking; I worked on it for almost six months before even drawing the first designs. I went through old show pictures and videos first, but everything changed when I finally got the access to the archive and was able to go through Mugler's iconic 80s pieces. I started by just looking as much as I could and then I stopped observing and just let myself come through with what I thought makes sense for now. 

Mugler Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION. 

On powerful femininity 

Femininity means something different for each and every person, and that's what makes it so fascinating. I consider myself to be feminine, and some women can be masculine and that's their version of femininity. It's a whole spectrum today, and that's really what Mugler is about: acceptance, and giving people a platform to be themselves. This collection is about different kinds of women – it's about letting each woman be who she really is. And I think that's what Mugler has always been about – feminine power. Mugler is for every woman; I don't have just one woman in mind. In fact, I get a chance to build a family and work with women that I am really inspired by. It's important to have a big range of styles: sometimes it's important to be able to be sexy and other times you need something very special, but comfortable. We wanted to propose something new. 

Mugler Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION. 

On the choice of the show-venue in Paris 

It was important for me to have a small show in Paris. I didn't want a big one – I wanted to start slowly and to build up slowly. I walked into the venue (Éléphant Paname in Paris) and thought “this is it!”

On collaborating with British artist Samara Scott

I loved her work for a very long time and eventually wrote her a letter, asking her if she would agree to collaborate with me on this collection. And she said yes! We've been working together for almost 6 months: we've been creating the handmade latex pieces of this collection. It's basically latex that comes from the trees and that’s mixed with pigments. We made handmade sheets out of it and used them for several outfits – they're amazing, they have different thicknesses; sometimes they're transparent, sometimes they're warm, sometimes they're cold. In fact, when you wear them, they adapt to the temperature of your body – they're really sensual. 

Mugler Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION. 

On challenging moments while designing his new women's wear

I had challenging moments all the time! But that's what fashion is about: trying to make something, seeing how it's going, and then reacting to it. I tried to mess with materials that are new – you have to live with them and try and try over and over again until everything is the way you want it to be. We have a super atelier and experiment a lot – it's like a laboratory – and are constantly trying new things. Sure, sometimes it doesn't work out, but we obviously only show the pieces that worked out (laughs)!