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Farewell to Thierry Mugler

The iconic designer whose sensual, futuristic aesthetic made fashion history and won over stars such as Madonna, Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian has died

Farewell to Thierry Mugler The iconic designer whose sensual, futuristic aesthetic made fashion history and won over stars such as Madonna, Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian has died

The announcement of Thierry Mugler's death from natural causes came as a surprise last night, with a totally black post on the designer's personal page, followed by official statements from his Maison and current creative director Casey Cadwallader:

'We are devastated to announce the death of Mr Manfred Thierry Mugler on Sunday 23 January 2022. May his soul rest in peace."

A few words are insufficient to explain the impact that his unique and extravagant aesthetic, infused with a distinctive mix of sensuality, female body fetishism, love of the animal world and futuristic vision, had in revolutionizing a fashion market dominated by the androgynous minimalism of the 80s and 90s.

Originally from Strasbourg, he came to Paris to be a professional dancer and in his spare time he took courses in decorative art and began designing the clothes he wore in everyday life. Soon his passion for fashion prevails and Thierry founds his eponymous brand in 1974. Provocation and seduction became his signature style. The women he brought on the catwalk are powerful femmes fatales dressed in rigorous suits, furs, rhinestones, latex, corsets, angular superstructures that tighten the waist. His creations wrap and exalt the female body and are inspired by cyborgs, insects, metamorphosis, and movie noir divas.

"I have always been fascinated by the most beautiful animal on Earth: the human being. - Mugler often repeats in interviews and adds - I am an architect who completely reinvents the woman's body."

Genius, irreverent and innovative, he is always one step ahead of the others. Believing that "fashion was not enough for itself and that it had to be shown in a musical and theatrical environment", he was the first to show a singer (Diana Ross) in one of his shows and one of the first to relaunch the hourglass silhouette sculpted by clean, angular cuts, but also the vinyl in a 1992 fashion show in support of Apla (Aids Project Los Angeles), with a unique cast on the catwalk that included  Ivana TrumpMichelle PhillipsDebi MazarBrigitte NielsenLinda HamiltonSharon Stone. Thierry recalls: 

"The message that fashion wanted to promote was: protect yourself is directly related to protecting others, and so prevention became an act of generosity. Sophisms aside, I loved vinyl because it makes the body look like lacquer."

Mugler is a 360° artist, not only creates clothes, but he is a photographer, director, stylist. He designed the black little dress that Demi Moore wore in Indecent Proposal, he directed one of the most iconic videos of the 80s, George Michael's Too Funky, starring Linda EvangelistaEva Herzigova and Tyra Banks. His clothes have been worn by many stars, from David Bowie to Liza Minnelli, from Diana Ross to Lady Gaga. More recently he has been creative consultant and costume designer for Beyoncé's I Am... world tour, created Kim Kardashian's dress for the 2019 Met Gala and dressed Cardi B in his cult pieces for the retrospective Thierry Mugler, Couturissime.

At the beginning of 2003 Thierry retired and the label decided to leave the fashion industry to focus exclusively on fragrances (the Angel fragrance is still one of the best-selling in the world). In 2010 the brand was relaunched and headed first by Nicola Formichetti and then, in 2013, by David Koma. Since 2017, thanks to the creative direction of Casey Cadwallader, Mugler has returned to the centre of the fashion industry. Cadwallader's merit? Updating the brand's image, connecting it to a contemporary taste, drawing on Monsieur Thierry's heritage without limiting himself to proposing mere copies of his cult pieces, but reinterpreting his sensuality in an inclusive key with an aesthetic language that reflects the woman of the 21st century. Thierry Mugler has gone down in fashion history for his visionary creations, for his hourglass silhouettes, angular, sexy, aggressive, created to dress a female empowerment very different from the current one and, thanks to the contribution of the new creative director of the Maison and the love of the stars for vintage, will continue to dictate the style for a long time to come.