A tribute to a legend. Manfred Theirry Mugler has just died at age of 73. His loss created an empty space in the creative world and led a whole generation one step closer to the hard realization of adulthood. His inspired, original personality created an unforgettable chapter in the industry of arts and fashion.
The dominatrix-loving couturier turned sex into a style weapon. Mugler worshiped the female gender throughout his creation with an elegant, aggressive greatness. Some deemed his work sexist or crossing over into costume but it could also be seen as a form of female liberation. Mugler’s fashion obsessions intersected with surrealism, eroticism, futurism, primitivism and fetishism. In his early designs, a new type of women empowerment has been discovered in which female characters are commanding and at the same time are in command. From his early exhibition in 2008, in the Costume Institute’s “Superheroes”, we observed an archetype representation of Amazonian woman, surrounded by both humor and sensuality. Mugler’s clothing was used as a reference in several Helmut Newton shoots for Vogue during the 80s, and it’s easy to observe synchronicity in the two genders’ approach to sexiness. Triangle silhouettes, exaggerated shoulders, hourglass body shapes gave new dimensions in the world of haute couture, a pure grotesque elegance.
The opposite of good taste is safe. In every show, Mugler’s audience was immersed in a unique theatrical play. Different roles, concepts, main characters, every time distinctive and notable. His presentation of women ranged from robots and motorcycles to clams, and even goddesses and angels. By being a performer himself, Mugler understood the necessity of exaggeration for impact. When he stepped away from the fashion industry, the designer started using his birth name, Manfred. Through bodybuilding and plastic surgery alterations he changed his physical appearance. It was a form of redefinition for him but not his final act. Mugler didn’t follow trends or references in fashion history. He was always one step further, he created his own universe by setting his rules of perception. Manfred Mugler, we can’t thank you enough for all the beautiful drama.
“By creating fashions, you create forms of life, the pleasure of being, of coming and going. You inspire the many, you lend the seasons their colors, their continuity, their movement.”
A beautiful drama
Artist: Thierry Mugler / @manfredthierrymugler
Mugler / @muglerofficial
Words: Iro Bournazou / @irwb