I want to dress the people who inspire me, and for them to be equally inspired by the brand.
An American citizen from New Hampshire, Casey Cadwallader studied architecture at Cornell University, before carrying out an internship at Marc Jacobs which prompted seventeen years of fashion design experience including positions as the Head of Womenswear at Loewe, Narciso Rodriguez, and most recently Acne Studios. He was appointed Creative Director of MUGLER Fashion in January 2018. He tells us more about his vision and hopes for what lies ahead.
1. What’s your vision for MUGLER?
My goal is to create a new culture around MUGLER, inspired by a multidisciplinary approach. I want MUGLER to be for many different types of women, of all ages, sizes, colors and for any moment of the day. I want to dress the people who inspire me, and for them to be equally inspired by the brand. I also want to go back to the founding spirit of MUGLER, as Mr. Mugler was a true risk taker and a visionary, someone who gave life to a unique and unconventional universe, regardless of trends and common sense. However, the new MUGLER shouldn’t only be reliant on the esthetics that Mr. Mugler created, it has to move forward, but what an amazing legacy to have as a foundation!
2. What inspires you as a Creative Director?
My process begins with the fabric, I guess that’s the architect in me talking: everything starts with the material (I love seeing and discovering new fabrics, textures, colors.) I am also very interested in art, and I hope this is something I will be able to convey through my work at MUGLER. My approach to art is also quite sensual as I am looking for texture, color, combination of shapes, or sometimes I am primarily interested in motion and performance. I love interior design as well. Then I let all those things wash over me, I digest them and integrate them in my creative process. I need to feed my brain so I can make new things.
3. What do you stand for as a designer and as a citizen? Which role would you like to play in our society today?
The things I stand for as a human being and as a designer are equality, celebrating diversity, individuality, and protecting the environment. I have been privileged in my life in the sense that I don’t have to face and deal with many hardships unlike many communities, and so all I can do is try and understand other perspectives. That is why empathy is very important to me. Each individual has a story to tell and we should listen. I admire new technologies that solve problems for the environment. I was immediately fascinated by Tesla, and the way it offered clean energy cars in such a well-designed, modern and high tech way – I even bought stocks when it came out! Not enough, unfortunately (laughs). The subject of the environment is very relevanat at MUGLER too, in the fabrics we use, the kind of fiber… I think we ought to know the sourcing of our fabrics as a brand. Leather and fur is a subject as well, I hope that technologies will offer us an alternative to leather eventually, and I don’t use fur except from lamb which is not solely killed for that particular purpose. We won’t be using mink or fox fur in any collection either.
4. What was your first interaction with the MUGLER brand?
It was probably the MUGLER shows I saw on TV or George Michael’s Too Funky video. I grew up living in a little town in New Hampshire so MTV was my outlet into the real world. A MUGLER show was an entirely other world to where I lived, it was so exciting to me. I wanted to be there. I always loved clothes with a sculptural and architectural dimension so I was always fascinated by the way MUGLER and other designers such as Alaïa or Narciso made clothes.
How do you feel about the MUGLER heritage?
Of course, being able to approach the 6000 pieces in the archives is very touching. There is never a lack of inspiration to be drawn from the archive and it’s so powerful and undeniable, it’s a luxury to be able to study it. To get to see how he worked with shapes, colors and fabrics is so interesting.
5. What’s your biggest dream?
It’s the first time that I am a Creative Director, so being able to finally do what I wanted to do within the MUGLER platform is amazing. I want to make clothes for all the women who inspire me. To get the chance to see them worn in the streets will be humbling.
6. Did you always want to be a designer?
I always wanted to design things, but not necessarily clothes. I was first very interested in gemstones and I even worked in a jewelry shop near my house for a few years where I learned everything about jewelry. After that, I was interested in brand names and I wanted to design cars – I had this idea about designing my own car brand with a logo and all. And then I moved onto buildings, I studied to become an architect at Cornell for 5 years. My friend who was working at Marc Jacobs told me about an internship there and it kind of happened. For me it’s all the same, it’s creating and building things with meaning.
7. What’s your biggest addiction?
Techno music! Get me on the dancefloor and I won’t leave for the rest of the night (laughs).