Casey Cadwallader, the Creative Director at Mugler, is renowned for his bold and boundary-pushing approach in fashion. With a distinctive blend of modernity and innovation, Cadwallader has revitalized the iconic Mugler brand, infusing it with his own dynamic aesthetic.

You have had great success expanding who Mugler is for. You’ve been celebrating, representing diversity and unique beauties. Did you have to alter the brand’s communication a lot to give it this very modern identity?

I think the job of a designer is to know what’s right for now and that comes from some sort of internal channel that you have to trust. That’s like the leap of faith. The roadmap for that inclusive ideology was already in the archive and in Monsieur Mugler’s work: he worked with trans people, with curvy women, with persons of colour, with older women… Culture has changed, evolved and in many ways improved itself on these topics, so it’s a bit different to do it now. But Mugler had it in its DNA and I have it in my heart, so it gave me the chance to be quite synergistic.

What is your relationship with fragrances in general, and with Mugler fragrances in particular?

I’ve always been into fragrance. I like to try on a lot of scents. I probably buy a dozen of different fragrances a year, it’s almost a problem in my bathroom (laughs). I usually wear about four fragrances a week depending on my mood or on the occasion. During the day, I’ll go for something clean; at night, I’ll wear something a little heavier and darker. The gender of a fragrance doesn’t really matter to me, by the way.

What does the word “alien” mean to you?

It’s a word that can be seen with multiple definitions. But for me, for us at Mugler, it’s really about embracing the fact that you don’t have to be “normal”. That’s the beautiful part of it, I think. We come from a culture where conforming to the standards is the standard; it seems like we’re willing to break from that more and more today. This fragrance name – that was created almost 20 years ago and is a very special word to find in the fragrance world – reflects that.

Can you describe Alien Hypersense in your own words? What kind of sensations, of emotions does it trigger in you?

As with most Mugler fragrances, you know when it’s been sprayed. It’s a very sexy dark fragrance. The first thing I get from it is a woodiness that I really like. It does feel like something you wear to feel more sensual. It’s not a simple statement to put it on: the fragrance becomes a part of you. There’s something very powerful about it for sure.

Why do you think Anok Yai is the perfect muse for Alien Hypersense? How does Anok reflect the personality of Alien Hypersense in this campaign?

Honestly, that was the easiest casting I’ve ever done for fragrance: I was already in love with Anok. She had just opened the Mugler Fall 2022 ready-to-wear show. She’s wearing the exact same look in the TV commercial that she wore in that fashion show. It’s one of the best and clearest examples of synergy between Mugler’s fashion and fragrance.

Anok is a force. She’s bold. She’s very engaging. The way she looks at you, the way she communicates… She’s very captivating. For me, she just embodies this sort of female confidence that Alien is about.

Can you tell me how it was to work with photographer and film director Daniel Sannwald on this campaign?

I have been an admirer of Daniel’s work for a long time. I love the amazing imagery he has done for artists like Rosalía or Eartheater, who is a friend of mine – her music is always in the show, she is sometimes in the show. There’s a sort of very expressive colorful modernity in his work. Everything he does is so engaging and noticeable. It was actually the creative agency Baron & Baron who suggested to work with him, and I couldn’t agree more.

How did the concept of the campaign pop up?

We wanted to show someone having this sort of internal evolution or realization… Mugler is so much about transformation, so we wanted our character to be changed by the fragrance. She sprays it and becomes almost intoxicated. Her hair gets longer, her nails get longer, her eyes get more and more purple – Anok wore several different wigs, sets of nails and pairs of contacts. As she evolves, she wants more and more badly to get to you. There’s this idea of pursuit, almost like a cat attacking a mouse. And at the end she sprays you… We thought that the connection with the viewer through the screen would be interesting. It was a nice way of shaking the rules.

Since you’ve joined the house, you’ve been behind many iconic projects for Mugler such as the collaboration with H&M or the Spring-Summer 2022 Film. Any exciting new projects coming up?

The most exciting thing is we’re going to launch the menswear, which is quite a big deal for us. We’re going to show the first men’s collection and the women’s precollection at the same time because I don’t really believe in separating the sexes. I like the idea of full gender spectrum expressions.