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From Runway to Retail, H&M x Mugler Brings Sex to the City 

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Run, don’t walk, to your nearest H&M. The Swedish retail giant recently unveiled its partnership with the illustrious French fashion house Mugler. With an affordable archive collection on the way, these ready-to-wear honorary pieces will officially launch in select stores on May 11. To herald the highly anticipated release of this collection, Mugler released a saucy music video on March 23. 

The H&M x Mugler collection pays tribute to the brand’s late founder, Manfred Thierry Mugler, who approved the collaboration before his passing in Jan. 2022. The highly renowned American designer and Acne Studios alum Casey Cadwallader was named Mugler’s new creative director in Dec. 2017, taking the helm of the brand’s creative direction after David Koma. Since then, Cadwallader has infused the brand with a contemporary sensibility while staying true to Mugler’s legacy of futuristic, sexy designs and risque silhouettes. Today, Cadwallader channels a deep understanding of the brand’s heritage as he explores new ways to bring Mugler’s legacy to the forefront of the public eye.

Each year, like clockwork, H&M joins forces with a new roster of international catwalk designers, all of whom bring their own unique perspective and vision to the brand’s offerings. From its very first groundbreaking collaboration with the legendary Karl Lagerfeld in 2004 to its more recent partnerships with designers like Comme des Garçons, Versace and Simone Rocha, H&M has consistently demonstrated its willingness to take risks and embrace new creative challenges for its brand. As news of this latest collaboration between H&M and Mugler began to spread, fans and fashion enthusiasts around the world wondered what fresh, new designs might emerge from this unlikely duo. 

For many, Mugler is a name synonymous with the art of the silhouette; a master of the daring, the futuristic and the sensual. For decades, the French label has embodied a fierce and unapologetic celebration of the body — a fearless champion of self-expression through fashion. The visionary French designer has etched an indelible mark on the fashion landscape with some of his most unforgettable designs. From the flamboyantly audacious to the exquisitely detailed, looks like the infamous Harley Davidson bustier or the vividly fiery cowgirl ensemble, both from his “Les Cowboys” Spring/Summer 1992 collection stand out as an emblem of fearless individuality. Moreover, the skin-tight “Wet Look” dress worn by Kim Kardashian at the 2019 Met Gala, and Dua Lipa’s radiant crystal-encrusted custom bodysuit for her “Studio 2054” livestream performance, both masterfully crafted by the maestro himself, have left an enduring imprint in the annals of haute couture.

H&M, on the other hand, boasts a clean and sharp aesthetic, one that blends formality and conservative fashion with a modern, contemporary edge. As a purveyor of retail fashion designed for a wide range of consumers, it makes sense for H&M to opt for simpler, more minimalist designs. 

Perhaps that’s what makes its collaboration with the bold and risk-taking Mugler so intriguing. The fusion of Mugler’s avant-garde sensibility with H&M’s precision and refinement promises to break new ground and set the bar even higher. As a trailblazer in the world of fashion, Mugler can inspire H&M to push the limits of what is considered “acceptable” in clothing design and to boldly explore new avenues of fashion creativity. With sultry pieces that celebrate the human body in all its natural beauty, this collaboration has pushed H&M to shed its self-imposed limitations of retail-friendly pieces and embrace more daring, cutting-edge designs.

The H&M x Mugler collection features a range of clothing pieces that incorporate Mugler’s signature futuristic and sexy design aesthetic with H&M’s more accessible and affordable style. The collection’s lookbook, released on March 23, revealed an array of ruched, form-fitting sheer dresses, futuristic leather coats and outerwear with exaggerated shoulders and cinched waists. Undoubtedly, Mugler’s trademark sharp and clean silhouettes are evident in the pieces, with many featuring sheer paneling and intricate, asymmetrical cut-outs that reveal glimpses of the skin. 

The garments are designed to hug the body with the use of structured tailoring and sleek materials, creating a sense of power with a touch of futurism and glamor. Some of the looks in this collection feature pieces partially made of denim, combining the everyday wearability of denim fabric with the iconic black nylon bonded jersey fabric, a hallmark of the brand, as a marketing segue from runway to retail. The belt accessory that bears the emblematic letter ‘M’ of Mugler also makes an appearance on some featured looks. The color palette is just as bold as the designs, with spontaneous colors of deep blues and neon green. As proven, the looks are daring and provocative and will immediately stand out on any window mannequin at the mall. 

Ever since he seized the reins of Mugler, Casey Cadwallader has relentlessly sought to blaze new trails in the world of fashion. Among his many visionary goals has been the incorporation of more menswear pieces into the Mugler lineup, a step towards redefining gender boundaries and traditional norms of masculinity in a daring and audacious way. Thus, it was with great ambition that Cadwallader seized upon the chance to collaborate with H&M, seeing this partnership as a way to realize his long-held vision. 

“The H&M partnership presented itself as the perfect opportunity to push for menswear, and when the team agreed I was delighted,” Cadwallader told GQ Magazine. “I wanted to design for the fem boy, the straight macho boy, the twinky boy in the club. When a lot of designers do menswear, they design for one guy, and I didn’t want to do that.”

Celebrating the legacy of Manfred Thierry Mugler, the H&M x Mugler collaboration stands as an unparalleled opportunity for the average consumer to discover and immerse themselves in the legendary history of his enduring legacy. 

“I was determined for this collection to be true Mugler,” Cadwallader told H&M. “The details and quality of every piece had to be exactly as we do them, and I wanted to showcase the energy of Mugler, which has always been about clothes that allow for personal liberation. You can be so many different versions of yourself in Mugler.”

Raymond Dinh is an Entertainment Staff Writer. He can be reached at