MUGLER. Since this Sunday, January 23, the world of death mourns Thierry Mugler. Died suddenly when he was 73 years old, the stylist had been performing cosmetic surgeries for several years, having made his body “a perpetual construction site”.
The one who used “all the tools that were at [sa] disposition to sublimate” the human being, who made women into phantasmagorical creatures with excessively marked forms, who played with the masculine standards of modernity and who had ended up making his own body his laboratory of aesthetic experiments, with blows of bodybuilding sessions and repeated facial cosmetic surgeries, left us this Sunday, January 23. Thierry Mugler, the couturier who gave his name to the eponymous house who was “fascinated by the most beautiful animal on earth: the human being” , died suddenly when he celebrated his 73rd birthday a month ago.
After his creations, it was his successive cosmetic surgeries and his bodybuilder body that had questioned public opinion. Until his last days, he had remained a character who questioned – it was partly what had earned him his fame. In Vanity fair, he had explained his changes in physical appearance: “I underwent facial reconstruction following a serious gym accident which completely smashed my face. My body is in perpetual construction”. A justification in the image of the fashion designer, who constantly sought to divert and embellish the human body.
The great couturier, who had dressed Jerry Hall, Mylène Farmer or Sylvie Joly, still had many projects, scheduled appointments, and new collaborations that he intended to present at the beginning of the week. The death of the French designer was announced by his agent Jean-Baptiste Rougeot to Agence France-Presse (AFP), who also expressed the emotion of all his teams, in a short press release published on the Facebook account from fashion designer Sunday.
How did Thierry Mugler die? Thierry Mugler’s agent said that if the death of the businessman had occurred unexpectedly, the causes of death were “natural”. Thierry Mugler, creator with an immense career, had managed to have his uniqueness and his brand recognized throughout the world. His paw? The hyperfemininity of her creations. Although the creator had moved away from fashion a little in recent years, having embarked on the production of musical shows, he remained known for his eccentricity. He had also made a personal shift in how to approach his health. As AFP reports, in 2013 he explained why he devoted himself, at over 60, to bodybuilding, cosmetic surgery and the intense practice of yoga: “The first emergency was to reclaim my body, exhausted through my years of dancing and sewing, like a rebirth, a way of erasing the past”, he said then, claiming to want to create his “new bodily home”.
As the fashion world mourns one of its most extravagant designers, singer Cindy Sander also lamented the stylist’s passing. Thierry Mugler had actually entrusted him, between 2014 and 2016, with the leading role in his musical “The Wyld”, which had turned out to be a great success, with no less than 500 performances in front of 800,000 spectators in Berlin. Describing herself “collapsed”, she assured this Monday with the Parisian “I had him on the phone recently, we had talked at length about his plans, he still had so many… He was doing very well, which is why his death is such a shock”.
In an interview that the French couturier gave to the winter 2017-2018 special issue of Number, he said he “underwent facial reconstruction following a serious gym accident which [lui] completely smashed the face”. It is this surgery which, according to him, had caused the click in the stylist – a click which would push him to chain, for years, diets, bodybuilding, implants and lifting -: “My body is in perpetual construction site”, he had confided to the fashion magazine. In addition, Thierry Mugler had explained his approach to physical modifications by his love for the fact of “transforming and arranging people”. For him, cosmetic surgery was a process ” logic in [sa] architectural approach”. Words that go in the direction of the extraordinary character of the stylist, who added further on this subject: “There came a time when I said to myself: let’s put things in order, to go more far and higher”.
Thierry Mugler was born on December 21, 1948 in Strasbourg and died on January 23, 2022 in Paris. This stylist, great couturier, perfume designer, director, director and photographer was known throughout the world for his excess, his ability to transform his female models into phantasmagorical creatures and his spectacular parades that looked like blockbusters. Hyperfemininity and futurism were also her trademarks. Born of a doctor father, the extravagant Thierry Mugler was nevertheless a solitary child with a rich inner world: as a child, he willingly escaped into the limbo of his imagination. From the age of nine, he took classical dance lessons which enabled him, five years later, to join the corps de ballet of the Opéra du Rhin. From there, he will access the Decorative Arts of Strasbourg, where he will study interior design.
In 1969, he moved to Paris, where he hoped to find another corps de ballet. However, a completely different destiny awaited him in the capital: already making (he was then 20 years old) his own clothes from pieces bought on flea markets, and surprising those around him with his quirky style (he wore his own creations), Thierry Mugler is gradually turning to the world of fashion. In 1970, he already exhibited in the “Gudule” boutique, located rue de Buci in the sixth arrondissement. Quickly becoming a freelance stylist, he worked for houses located in Paris, but also in Milan, London and Barcelona. In 1973, his first collection was created: soberly named “Café de Paris”, it announced the beginnings of hyperfemininity and the emphasis on women’s shapes, a label that would not leave him throughout his career. A year later, the house of Thierry Mugler was set up – the clothes created still have this same vein: silhouettes with exacerbated shapes thanks to padding, plunging necklines and wasp waists.
The 1980s and 1990s witnessed the boom in his fame: the designer became an international fashion figure. After opening his first Parisian boutique, place des Victoires (in the 1st arrondissement), Thierry Mugler launched a men’s collection marked by modernity. His parades are real shows where the staging is controlled to the millimeter by the stylist, from the music to the visual details. In addition, in 1989, he designed the costumes for singer Mylène Farmer’s first tour; in the 1990s, he also signed several of his clips. In 1992, after the designer had taken over the artistic direction of Mugler perfumes (until then separated from couture), the house launched the feminine fragrance Angel, which would compete for first place in sales with Chanel’s N°5. The smell, just like the bottle, makes Angel a benchmark.
However, the house of Mugler, in financial difficulties, was bought by the cosmetics group Clarins at the end of the decade. In 2003, the company put an end to haute couture, keeping active ready-to-wear and perfumes. Thierry Mugler then gradually moved away from the world of fashion: he even left his brand’s ready-to-wear and decided to invest in his other favorite fields, namely photography, the creation of costumes for shows and staging. It should be noted that, until 2013, the creator nevertheless remained involved in the creation, design and visuals of Mugler perfumes, being artistic director of Thierry Mugler Parfums. He also directs short films and commercials, in addition to directing musicals (notably Emily Jolie and Macbeth), concerts, operas and plays. In 2002, Thierry Mugler even collaborated with Cirque du Soleil. Seven years later, he became the artistic adviser and created the costumes of the singer Beyoncé.
In 2019, Thierry Mugler created a general surprise by designing the dress that Kim Kardashian wore at the Met Gala. This piece, which we feel is still under the seal of hyperfemininity, will be presented twice, in September 2021 and April 2022, at the Decorative Arts in Paris. In addition, the exhibition “Thierry Mugler, Couturissime”, designed by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, is currently dedicated to the creator. The exhibition was launched at the end of September 2021.