Paris Fashion Week: Mugler celebrates the heroic ideal — and pornography

The sophomore Mugler menswear collection under the aegis of creative director Nicola Formichetti, shown on Wednesday evening in Paris, referenced the Olympic theme that started appearing on the runways of Milan the previous week.

Sort of.

“Brothers of Arcadia” was accompanied by a 14-page photo booklet of nude and mostly nude men frolicking on a beach (and followed up with a not-safe-for-work video debuting Thursday on Xtube).

In the show notes, Formichetti said the collection — which he worked on with head menswear designer Romain Kremer — was inspired by living in New York City (his current home) and Rome, where he grew up “with Baroque and classical architecture everywhere.”

“It’s a combination of the two things,” he said. “There are surfers, footballers, porn stars and classical gods all rolled into one here.”

(As for the short film, Formichetti envisions it as a “moving mood board,” adding that since “fashion is always referencing pornography” he simply considers it “cutting out the middleman.”)

His celebration of the “Olympian, heroic ideal” is first realized in warrior mode, with copper-colored, armor-like neck pieces and arm guards, followed by suit jackets halved across the diaphragm and again at the elbows, but held together by a sheer lining, some with drawstring cords, that evoked the look of articulated armor ( or as one observer wryly commented: “Janet Reno’s career clothes.”)

The barely-there bikini briefs from the booklet made an appearance on models otherwise wearing body glitter and accessorized by handfuls of clutched gold medallions emblazoned with the Mugler star logo.

Despite that, and other theatrical but impractical pieces (glitter shrugs, to name one), there were a lot of wearable pieces to be had, including ribbed knit raglan sweaters — a few with ribbing and geometric padding details that were motocross-inspired but could just as easily have come from the “Tron: Legacy” wardobe department.

There was also a selection of athletic-looking technical outerwear pieces including a light, hooded nylon jacket with what looked like pen pockets at the left breast that looked sporty enough for an afternoon jog.

Colors throughout the collection ranged from stonewashed denim and pale purple to neon green (a color from the Thierry Mugler archive), almost chromatic overkill in an entire outfit, but a perfect punch of color for monkstrap shoes with silver latch-like closures.

— Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris

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