French designer Thierry Mugler, who reigned over 1980s fashion, died on Sunday aged 73 from “natural death”, announced his agent Jean-Baptiste Rougeot to Agence France-Presse (AFP). “We have the immense sadness to inform you of the death of Mr. Manfred Thierry Mugler which occurred on Sunday January 23, 2022”, is it also written on a press release posted on the official Facebook account of the creator. ” That his soul rests in peace. » According to Jean-Baptiste Rougeot, the death of Thierry Mugler occurred unexpectedly. The great couturier still had projects and was to announce new collaborations at the start of the week.
Thierry Mugler was a director at heart as famous for his couture that transformed women into phantasmagorical creatures as for his shows that looked like blockbusters because for him, fashion was a show. “I have always thought that fashion was not enough on its own and that it had to be shown in its musical and theatrical environment”, has often told Thierry Mugler, a former dancer. “The parades of today are a continuation of what Mugler invented. The collections were pretexts for parades », remembers Didier Grumbach, former CEO of Thierry Mugler and former president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture.
Structured and sophisticated elegance
Born in Strasbourg in December 1948, Mugler was hired at the age of 14 in the ballet corps of the Opéra du Rhin before taking lessons at the school of decorative arts in the Alsatian capital. He already creates his own clothes from those bought at flea markets. At the age of 20, he moved to Paris in search of a commitment to another corps de ballet. He will have more success with his personal wardrobe. Thierry Mugler very quickly became a freelance stylist and worked for various houses in Paris, London and Milan.
In 1973, he took the plunge and created his own Café de Paris label, before a year later founding the Thierry Mugler company and imposing his structured and sophisticated elegance, a fashion that exacerbated women’s shapes: shoulders accentuated by padding, plunging necklines, nipped waists and plump hips. “Dancing taught me a lot about posture, the organization of clothing, the importance of shoulders, head bearing, leg play and rhythm”, said the creator.
Object of fantasies, the Mugler woman is an outrage to modesty, a galactic siren, a cybernetic robot, a fantastic animal… She is a “hell’s angel” in her Harley-Davidson bustier or a Marilyn in a flesh pink rubber guipure sheath . Its couture also saw the light of day with instantly recognizable basque suits.
“My measure is excess”
Mugler, who reigned over the fashion of the 1980s, had the show in his blood: for the tenth anniversary of his house, in 1984, he organized the first public fashion presentation in Europe, at the Zenith, in front of 6,000 people, as a rock concert. Tickets were sold for 178 francs (27 euros) each. The parade, placed under the sign of the liturgical, divine and mysticism, took place on a 35-meter podium. As usual, he controlled everything from props to soundtrack. “My measure is excess”, he said.
For the 20e anniversary of his brand, the designer chooses the Cirque d’hiver. Seventy-five stars and models, from Naomi Campbell and Jerry Hall to American heiress Patricia Hearst, actress Tippi Hedren and even James Brown in the finale emerging from a giant star to the rhythms of Sex Machine. Thierry Mugler, who launched a men’s collection in 1978, benefited from a tremendous publicity stunt thanks to the Minister of Culture Jack Lang whose “Mao collar” suit signed by the designer caused a scandal in 1985 on the benches of the National Assembly.
The other great success of the Mugler house is undoubtedly the launch in 1992 of the first feminine perfume, Angel, in collaboration with Clarins which entered the capital of the company before taking control of it in 1997. Angel will dispute the first place in sales at the mythical NThe 5 by Chanel.
Bodybuilding and yoga
In 2013, he created musical shows in Paris and Berlin, including Mugler Follies for “hustle” the art of the review with a lot of transformists and ambiguous creatures in an astonishing “tribute to all the beauties”. After leaving fashion, the couturier has also pushed the art of metamorphosis to the point of becoming unrecognizable, body and face, by resorting to intensive bodybuilding and cosmetic surgery, while engaging in meditation and yoga.
“The first emergency was to reclaim my body, exhausted by my years of dancing and sewing, like a rebirth, a way to erase the past”, explained the couturier, claiming « [sa] new bodily home”, and demanding that he henceforth be called « Manfred T. Mugler ».
A major exhibition entitled “Thierry Mugler, Couturissime”, designed by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, is currently dedicated to him at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. It was launched at the end of September, when Fashion Week returned to the parades after being confined during the pandemic. A symbol for the one who was the pioneer of the parade show.