Lady Gaga prances for Mugler in Paris

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By JENNY BARCHFIELD
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 3, 2011; 9:55 AM

PARIS -- If the singing thing doesn't pan out, Lady Gaga can always fall back on modeling.

The pop-shock sensation proved she's got the stuff to make it in the cruel world of fashion with her high-impact catwalk debut Wednesday at Mugler's fall-winter 2011-12 ready-to-wear show.

Dressed in a sheer black top and painted-on pencil skirt, Gaga drew on her wealth of experience with extreme footwear and managed to negotiate the towering platform shoes better than some of the models.

Legions of fans mobbed the show's venue, a gym in a working-class neighborhood in eastern Paris, hoping for a glimpse of the singer. It was clear that many of the industry insiders also made the trip into the fashion backwater exclusively for Gaga - who'd announced she'd be walking in the show on her Twitter account the day before.

And she didn't disappoint. Bursting in halfway through the show with a formidable contingent of bodyguards, Gaga hopped onto the stage - ahem, the catwalk - and struck no-holds-barred poses in front of the even more formidable pack of photographers. She puffed on a cigarette, blowing clouds of smoke toward them and then was off: bumping, grinding and strutting her way backstage, only to emerge in an all white ensemble topped off by a lampshade hat.

It was a blockbuster performance, er, show. Indeed Gaga looked more comfortable than many of the models, who had trouble embracing the nasty girl role they'd been told to play. Their tiger growls at the cameras flopped, their gyrations were forced - and Gaga stood out as the A-grade performer she is.

The clothes themselves weren't much better than the models. It was like Sebastien Peigne, who designed the collection under Gaga's stylist and Mugler's new creative director, Nicola Formichetti, was taking his cue from the "How To" manual for a label hoping to spark buzz.

Painted on vinyl pants? Check.

High-waisted latex skirt paired with a sheer blouse and nothing underneath? Check.

Leopard print bodystockings? Check.

Nothing revolutionary, or even mildly surprising, really.

A few pieces channeled the spirit of founder Thierry Mugler, like second-skin tubedresses worn over what looked like plastic dinosaur vertebrae at the shoulders and wrist, in a nod to Mugler's trademark shapes, though they lacked his imposing volumes.

Still, Formichetti's first women's ready-to-wear display undoubtedly hit its mark - to drum up publicity for a brand that has floundered since Mugler's retirement years ago.

It was certainly a more deft harnessing of the explosive power of celebrity better than past attempts by the fashion world - notably Emanuel Ungaro's disastrous hiring of Lindsay Lohan as artistic consultant. Formichetti, the man who put Gaga into a meat dress and disguised her as a latex-sheathed human condom, was undisputedly savvier casting than Lohan, whose claim to fashion fame was her line of leggings.

Appointed late last year, Formichetti showed the first collection for Mugler during Paris' menswear collections in January. Reviews were mixed.



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© 2011 The Associated Press

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