From his office window, Casey Cadwallader can see the gilding of the Opéra Garnier. An architect by training, this American raised in the neat New Hampshire, on the East Coast of the United States, is delighted every day to be able to cast his gaze on the splendours of Paris. Since 2017 he has been at the head of Mugler’s style. In the 1980s and 1990s, under the leadership of its whimsical founder Thierry Mugler – now renamed Manfred Thierry Mugler – the house made its explosive cloakroom the champion of exaggerated glamor and hyper-femininity. A fashion manifesto that the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris is showing until April 24, 2022, through the exhibition “Thierry Mugler, Couturissime”.
At 42, Casey Cadwallader is part of this generation of designers who grew up between the pop culture distilled by MTV and the rigor of a minimalist know-how, which found its apogee in the fashion of the 1990s. Trained in New York at Marc Jacobs then Narciso Rodriguez, he then moved between Madrid, Paris and Stockholm, successively joining the teams of Loewe and Acne Studios.
At Mugler, her sexy creations designed for all body types are highlighted by pop stars adored by the younger generation: American singers Beyoncé, Cardi B, Miley Cyrus, influencer Kylie Jenner and French singer Yseult. A welcome recognition for Casey Cadwallader who claims inclusive and positive fashion.
How did you come into fashion?
I was greatly influenced by my mother, who was always very elegant and who had a keen interest in everything to do with fashion. But it was my big sister – we are ten years apart – who helped shape my fashion culture. I was in awe of her and her friends, they were listening to U2, Pat Benatar… I found them so cool! I also remember the MTV fashion show, “House of Style”, presented by Cindy Crawford, I found this universe terribly exciting.
Yet you studied architecture.
Yes, as a child, I drew a lot, especially cars and houses. I was interested in mineralogy, I loved building things. I studied architecture at Cornell University in New York State, which is known to be the best school of architecture in the United States. But one summer, to earn a little money, I worked at Marc Jacobs and the adrenaline of the design studio totally transported me. Then I joined the Narciso Rodriguez team in New York.
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