THIERRY MUGLER'S NINE ICONIC COLLECTIONS

The virtuoso, avant-gardist fashion designer Thierry Mugler: discover nine of the collections that marked the fascinating history of his fashion house.

By Balthazar Malevolent

THIERRY MUGLER'S NINE ICONIC COLLECTIONS

He is one of the most significant fashion designers of the modern era: Thierry Mugler deployed his avant-garde vision of fashion for 30 years, collection after collection. A new woman emerged on the runway under his encouragement and she was smoulderingly potent. Restored by a formal silhouette at the end of the 1970s that was easily recognizable, she had a tiny corset waist, broad shoulders, and an accented chest and hips. Mugler thought he should become a ballet dancer, but through designing clothes the young Thierry Mugler finally transcribed his love of the body. In 1973, this perfectionist created his first collection Café de Paris with creativity and perseverance, and two years later, despite limited financial means, arranged his very first runway show.

Thierry Mugler.

Extravagant, sexy and sometimes irreverent, "his fashion lives in conjugation with the superlative," writes Nathalie Bondil, managing director and chief curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Oversized caps, neon wigs, aerodynamic chest, tight-fitting skirts, gleaming corsets, cleavage," - these epithets characterize the style of Mugler. With Mugler, femininity is assumed one hundred percent: from his first look of 1979th, his pieces guided women towards emancipation by affirming an armored body that was undeniably resistant to any social affronts. His virtuosity is also illustrated beyond the silhouettes by his use of unconventional materials: by adapting rubber, chrome, resin and plexiglass to a body's curves, the designer marked a very distinct turning point in the fashion of the 1980s-90s, which gradually became more romantic than wearable. His keen eye fused with pure futurism, a liberated sensitivity to the world of science fiction. Mugler fashion turned into art.

And yet the designer bowed out after two decades of prolific success in 2001, after unveiling his last ready-to-wear collection. The fashion industry's ever-increasingly frenetic pace, he turned his attention to creating shows and stage costumes. His rich heritage, however, has never stopped being revisited by openly claiming influence from designers, as well as numerous pop stars including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Cardi B, who still wear his outfits today. His vast oeuvre is presently being celebrated followed by a first book published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in partnership with Phaidon – via a judicious collection of pieces. To better understand this fashion utopian's influence, we are looking back on nine of his most emblematic collections.

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