Remembering Thierry Mugler: A Pioneer Of Avant-Garde Haute Couture

Innately creative, Strasbourg-born Thierry Mugler (21 December 1948 – 23 January 2022) lived to become the most renowned contemporary ‘Enfant Terrible’. In creating his first collection Café de Paris in 1973, Mugler began his journey to becoming a famous Creative Director and Designer. As Mugler designed the Alien Eau Sublime with its feminine opulence, spurring his audacious legacy, he was simultaneously preparing a new space for high-fashion where the contemporary standards were ignored.

This rebellious streak coined Mugler as a man who portrayed the Avant-Garde in higher voltage than ever before. Despite his theatrical displays amalgamating futuristic silhouettes with Metamorphic elements, Mugler declared that ‘the clothes [he] did were a direction of the everyday’.

He was charmingly ostentatious in his fashion pieces which reimagined the way the world experienced the creation of garments. It was this straying from expectations that had him strike down all implicit creative rules. His theatrical productions, often lasting an hour, even hosted DJ sets, party lights, and smoke to ensure an elusiveness experience. Even the titles of some of Mugler’s pieces announce their entrance to the world’s stage: Robot Woman, Red Cowgirl, Venus Dress, Wet Dress, Motorcycle Corset, and Les Insectes. These titles prove Mugler’s enduring ability to take risks in his demonstrations, using the hyperfeminine as a source of powerful glamour.

These entrancing motifs continued to reign at the top of the provocative fashion realm. Mugler dressed icons of the late 20th and early 21st centuries such as Beyoncé, Cindy Crawford, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, and Madonna. With notes of seduction alongside self-assurance, Mugler gave space for diversity to travel to the forefront of fashion, changing the fashion world one step at a time.

Mugler’s models often became goddess-like space venturers who walked the catwalk in manifestations of erotic fantasies. Pieces would be formed from eccentric yet timeless patterns crafted from vinyl, latex, metal, and faux fur. To quote an epitomisation of Mugler’s life’s work, ‘I have always been fascinated by the most beautiful animal on the Earth: the human being’, it is clear that Thierry Mugler was a remarkable designer of his time, marrying the human body and its fashion to exist as one.

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Bethany James

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June 2022
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