H&M Mugler: Designer Casey Cadwallader on Making His First Menswear Collection

After a quick hiatus in 2022, in February H&M introduced that it was bringing again its designer collaboration, this time partnering with the hype-y style home Mugler. 

The label, which was based by the late Thierry Manfred Mugler in 1973, had beginnings in high fashion and was to be discovered within the wardrobes of Paris’s correct fashionheads. The late Strasbourg-born Mugler, who retired from his personal model in 2002, was, and nonetheless is, acknowledged as some of the thrilling designers of the previous 50 years. He is usually credited with laying the foundations for female energy dressing, and he totally understood a girl’s physique: his use of corsetry and proportion was seen as groundbreaking and modern and futuristic on the time. It was Mugler’s designs that the supers Tyra Banks, Linda Evangelista, and Eva Herzigova wore within the music video for George Michael’s era-defining Too Funky. After seeing Mugler’s work within the Costume Institute’s Superheroes exhibition in 2008, Beyoncé commissioned tour costumes, impressed by Mugler’s 1992 couture Harley Davidson-inspired corset. His cartoonish oyster robe, a 1995 homage piece to The Beginning of Venus, was pulled out by Cardi B for the 2019 Grammys. He approached style with honest campness—proof being Kim Kardashian’s choice to get Mugler himself to come back out of retirement and gown her in that drippy, wet-look quantity for the 2019 Met Gala. The gown code that 12 months? Camp

Pair that legacy with a monitor document of sold-out collabs (H&M’s Versace and Balmain crossovers barely touched rails earlier than being snatched up), and here is maybe one other record-breaker for the Swedish retailer. At this time, Mugler is headed up by designer Casey Cadwallader, who feels the model’s heritage greater than anybody. “They have been very massive boots to fill,” he says of becoming a member of the model in 2018. “I pulled all of the codes and all of the meanings out of his work, and took these ahead in a method which means one thing to me. I needed to do clothes that was as attractive, as what he did.” 

Forward of its unveiling to the general public on a bitterly chilly December morning in a Paris showroom on the Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg, Cadwallader gave some uncommon perception into the collab. “When the decision from H&M got here, my reminiscence instantly went again to after I was residing in New York and the Versace collaboration had simply come out, and likewise to when the Maison Margiela assortment dropped,” the designer says. “I went to the launch of each, and was significantly elbowing folks to get to the garments. I’ve stored every part. I nonetheless put on the enormous blue Margiela turtleneck, and I used to at all times carry the Versace key lanyard round with me.” 

For Cadwallader, the H&M designer collaboration appeared like a no brainer. Was Mr. Manfred Mugler conscious of it? “[He] was the primary particular person to green-light it. He was having fun with this newfound recognition in the direction of the top of his life. He was seeing folks put on his archive designs, in addition to new Mugler, and it excited him,” he explains, telling me that Mugler died all of the sudden—there was no lengthy sickness—and he was closely concerned to the final minute. “Each social gathering had already agreed to the collaboration when he handed away,” Cadwallader says. “It makes me joyful to know that he was joyful within the final moments of his life.”

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