He is one of the most important fashion designers of the modern era: for 30 years, collection after collection, Thierry Mugler deployed his avant-gardist vision of fashion. Under his impetus a new woman appeared on the runway and she was smoulderingly powerful. Reshaped at the end of the 1970s by a structured silhouette that was instantly recognisable, she had a tiny corseted waist, large shoulders, and an emphasised bust and hips. He thought he would become a ballet dancer, but the young Thierry Mugler ended up transcribing his love of the body through designing clothes. In 1973, with daring and perseverance this perfectionist created his first collection Café de Paris, and two years later organised his very first runway show in spite of minimal financial means.
With Mugler, femininity is in your face and assumed one hundred percent
Extravagant, sexy and sometimes irreverent, “his fashion conjugates with the superlative”, writes Nathalie Bondil, director general and chief curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “Oversized hats, neon wigs, (…), aerodynamic busts, tight-fitting dresses, gleaming corsets, cleavage, butt”, all features that define the Mugler style. With him, femininity is in your face and assumed one hundred percent: from his first total look of 1979, his pieces guided women towards an emancipation through the affirmation of an armoured body that was undeniably resistant to any social affronts. Beyond the silhouettes, his virtuosity is also illustrated by his use of unconventional materials: by adapting rubber, chrome, resin and plexiglass to the curves of a body, the designer marked a very distinct turning point in 1980s-90s fashion, which gradually became more fantasy than wearable. His keen eye fused a liberated sensitivity to the world of science fiction with pure futurism. With Mugler fashion became art.