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Strike 2 for Gaga stylist Formichetti at Mugler
Lady Gaga stylist Formichetti swings and misses for second straight season at house of Mugler
By The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) ' Whether he dresses her in meat or swathes her in a gown made entirely out of stuffed animals, Nicola Formichetti can do no wrong when it comes to outfitting Lady Gaga. But at his day job as creative director of the house of Mugler, the stylist has yet to hit on the winning formula.

After his widely panned debut at Mugler last season with a collection that was all about plastic pants and other garments normally sold at sex shops, Formichetti was back Wednesday with a radically different ' but no more successful ' approach to spring-summer 2012 ready-to-wear.

Gone were the bustier dresses in transparent latex, replaced by what could only be described as the wardrobe of a sophisticated Trekkie with a penchant for neutral shades. Taupe catsuits were riddled with oblong cutouts, and futuristic pointy-shouldered jackets in camel were hung with a complicated web of useless bands.

A step up from last season? Undoubtedly.

But does it feel like Mugler? Sadly, no.

Relaunching a storied fashion house is no easy task, particularly with a label with as strong an identity as that of Mugler. But it increasingly feels like Formichetti and the brand's ready-to-wear designer, Sebastien Peigne, are grasping at straws, trying to come up with an outrageous new look that can become Mugler's new identity instead of finding a way to update its historical legacy.

The label continues to be oriented away from its past and its rich archive and focused nearly exclusively on its new muse, Lady Gaga, the trump card that Formichetti pulls out again and again.

Though not present in the flesh as she was last season ' when she walked the catwalk in a sheer black tip and painted-on pencil skirt ' the pop sensation was there in spirit on Wednesday night: The show opened with a video showing the singer, fitted out with two glow-in-the-dark buck teeth, praising Mugler.

But having a video of the world's biggest star is simply not the same thing as seeing strut her stuff on the catwalk, so it came to little surprise that the show garnered only the most tepid round of applause.

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