David Koma landed in New York City yesterday to find a look from his Spring Mugler collection on Marie Claire’s February cover featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. Not a bad way to start 2015. Koma has been at the helm of this French heritage brand for three seasons, Pre-Fall included, but his clothes are catching on in a way that those of his predecessors failed to do. Where Nicola Formichetti tapped into the performative, extravagant aspect of Thierry Mugler’s legacy, Koma, who continues to develop his own London-based line, is working in a lower, more relatable, although undeniably body-conscious key.
“I’m taking it step-by-step without going crazy in the archives,” Koma said at an appointment. “I thought it was important to keep the Mugler spirit without doing retro.” The Mugler spirit. Despite the designer’s rather brash ’80s sensibility, what Mugler stands for isn’t all that well-known outside of the high fashion world today. In Koma’s estimation, it’s the tailoring: “Very sharp tailoring.” If you’re looking for a more contemporary frame of reference, the new Mugler is situated somewhere along the Donatella Versace-Anthony Vaccarello continuum. Polished metal grommets of varying sizes—windows to the bare skin underneath—accented neatly cut single- and double-breasted jackets. And peekaboo details also turned up on knitwear (simpler cable-knit sweaters didn’t make the lookbook). Narrow, fitted trenches, in both napa leather and a closely cropped shearling, got a lot of play; otherwise, the silhouette was super-short and leggy.
For evening, Koma tends to like a covered-up look. He had a long-sleeve jersey gown with keyhole detailing at the neckline on offer, as well as a silk-blouse-and-long-skirt combo. The dress that will make the rounds this awards season, however, was more bare than not, with a grommeted bib front and a web of skinny straps in the back. When it does show up on the red carpet, it’ll be another step on the path to wider recognition for Koma’s Mugler.
—Nicole Phelps, Style.com