Cardi B on the half shell was the 2019 Grammys’ most unforgettable red-carpet fashion moment, and the star’s stylist Kollin Carter tells WWD the plan for the pop star to wear the vintage 1995-96 Thierry Mugler couture look was months in the making.
The relationship dates back to September, when Carter direct-messaged the Mugler brand on Instagram. “Just the name Thierry Mugler…it was always a dream of mine to get a hold of archive pieces from him. He was one of my favorite designers ever since I fell in love with fashion,” the stylist explained.
One thing led to another and soon, the house’s new creative director Casey Cadwallader was inviting Cardi and her stylist to attend his debut runway show in October during Paris ready-to-wear, and visit the brand archives. “There was one piece I was fighting for and harassing them about constantly, and it was the red-carpet dress,” Carter said of the pink duchess satin and black velvet “Venus” sheath dress and embellished bodysuit. “From the moment I saw it, I knew it was going to be a debatable moment, some people would love it and some people would hate it and that’s everything we’re about when it comes to fashion. It’s meant to create a conversation.”
Some pieces in the archive weren’t available because they were headed to Montreal for an upcoming Mugler retrospective at the Musée des Beaux Arts, but Carter was able to secure his Venus, as well as the 1995-96 purple satin coat, black bodysuit and “Peacock” crinoline Cardi wore to perform, and the white crepe shawl dress with fringe gloves from the 1997 “Les Insectes” couture show she wore to accept her Grammy for Best Rap Album.
It marks only the second time in 25 years that the Paris house has opened its archives to dress a celebrity (the first was in 2009 for Beyonce, which evolved into Cadwallader designing custom outfits for her On The Run 2 tour), and could represent a new kind of partnership between luxury brand and star on the red carpet and beyond. Vogue shot a 10-minute film about the collaboration, titled Kollin Carter’s “Muglerized,” which is being screened tonight in Los Angeles and rolled out online, and Carter hinted that there might be more to come as part of the deal — even a campaign, perhaps? When asked what happens to the dress now, he said quixotically, “It won’t be going to Montreal. But you will be seeing it soon in a major way.”
The moment, which created a splash for both brand and star, could also usher in a new heyday for vintage on the red carpet, not seen since Julia Roberts wore a 1992 gown from the Valentino archives to the 2001 Oscars.
“There is a lot of politics and business that plays into loaning archives,” said Carter (he and Cardi chatted via FaceTime with Thierry Mugler but have yet to meet him in person). “A lot of current fashion designers don’t have access to archives, because the original designers aren’t lending them out. So all of these original pieces are somewhere locked up, which is what made it so exclusive. I’d love to put Cardi in an archive every day, but the fact it’s so rare made it 20 times more special.”