Nostalgic fashion is obviously taking over. Lately, we see looks from the ‘60 to the ‘00s being revived by contemporary designers. But one specific designer from the ‘80s is also making a comeback, no twist or reinterpretations needed. Thierry Mugler, a name which may be more familiar to some due to his fragrance label, is quickly becoming a household name in fashion again.
The name first made headlines again when rapper Cardi B’s paid homage to the designer by wearing iconic pieces from his collection to this year’s Grammys. I’m sure you remember Cardi in The Venus Dress, which first appeared in the label’s SS95 collection. It was said to be inspired by Italian Renaissance artist Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
And more recently, Kim Kardashian stepped out the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” exhibition, where she wore two looks from the designer. But without a doubt the more memorable one was the black cutout dress from Thierry Mugler’s Spring 1998 couture collection she wore prior the exhibit, the same one which caused some stir with Diet Prada and Fashion Nova.
With the eponymous brand becoming relevant again, some of you may ask, who exactly is Thierry Mugler and just how important is he in fashion?
Born in France in 1948, Thierry had always leaned into the arts and showed a knack for showmanship early on. His childhood was spent in making costumes, writing dramas, watching films in the cinema. He reportedly spent more time in drawing various ideas than on his formal education in school. When he was nine, he began his training in classical dance, and at 14, joined the Rhin Opera Ballet. He also studied interior design, worked as a professional photographer, as well as started his career in fashion as an assistant designer for fashion houses in Paris, London, and Milan. In 1973, he finally had his first ready-to-wear collection. Its success paved the road for him to open his own company, Thierry Mugler, the following year. In 1992, the same year he opened a fragrance company, he also created his first ever haute couture collection as per the request of France’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
His empire soon became known for its distinct style. More than just clothes, what Thierry created was a fantasy. Dressed in the most interesting corsets, boots, accessories, and other creations with exaggerated silhouettes, he was able to transform his models into otherworldly creatures. Elle notes that “among his most notorious ensembles are a hot-red “cowboy” outfit consisting of hat, corset, chaps, and heels, modeled by a black transvestite, and a motorcycle bustier inspired by Detroit car styles of the 1950s.” His influences range from sexual fetishism, to science fiction. A true visionary, his fashion shows, some even an hour long, are treated more as theatrical shows rather than an ordinary runway event.
In a 2017 interview, Thierry revealed that “I have always been fascinated by the most beautiful animal on the Earth: the human being.” His extraordinary outlook in fashion gained him some of the biggest supporters in the industry, including Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, George Michael, and even RuPaul.
“Thierry Mugler is about the power of glamour and walking straight into the future,” Formichetti told Vogue in 2010. “He’s been a god for successive generations in the fashion industry. He fused pop and high fashion, told a story in style and combined fantasy with reality.”
Although he left his label in 2003, and is now barely recognizable as a bodybuilder, he continued to produce special costumes for artists like Beyonce, David Bowie, and Lady Gaga. As can be seen, his legacy continues and his name remains influential.
“I’d like to be remembered as someone who made people dream sometimes,” he previously said. We’re sure people will remember him for that and more.
Art by Marian Hukom
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