EYE CANDY

Revisit the Extravagant, Otherworldly Legacy of Thierry Mugler

Yasmine Le Bon wearing Thierry Mugler
Yasmin Le Bon wearing Thierry Mugler’s fall/winter 1997 haute couture collection at his presentation in London. © Alan Strutt, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

It’s fascinating to consider how a designer like Thierry Mugler would have tackled fashion week amid lockdown. From the launch of his eponymous label in 1973 to retirement in 2002, Mugler’s approach to the runway was akin to theater. (It’s no wonder he made costumes for the circus at one point in his career.) And his collections, of course, were on the same level; it was only appropriate that the model who wore the metal cyborg getup in his truly legendary 20th anniversary showing revealed it with a sudden drop of a floor-length coat. Mugler, who now goes by Manfred, eventually turned his focus toward bodybuilding—to the point that the New York Times once described him as a “240-pound spectacle of muscle and nipple and tattoo.” His legacy, on the other hand, lives on. From the exaggerated silhouettes that defined the ‘80s to the fetishization of latex, it’ll all be on full display in “Couturissime,” an upcoming traveling exhibition opening at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs in September. In the meantime, revisit some of the showman’s most memorable stagings and looks.

© Patrice Stable, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

Simonetta Gianfelici wearing a satin gown inspired by Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, and reprised at the 2019 Grammy Awards by Cardi B, at Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1995 presentation and 20th anniversary celebration.

© Luigi & Iango, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

Gisele Bündchen wearing Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1991 prêt-à-porter collection.

© Peter Knapp, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

Stern wearing Thierry Mugler’s fall/winter 1979 prêt-à-porter collection, Spirale Futuriste.

© Patrice Stable, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

Emma Sjöberg wearing Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1992 prêt-à-porter collection, Les Cow-boys, on the set of George Michael’s “Too Funky” music video.

David Bowie wearing a look from Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1992 prêt-à-porter collection, Les Cow-boys, on the set of Tin Machine’s “You Belong in Rock ’n’ Roll” music video.

© Dominique Issermann, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

Jerry Hall wearing a look from Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1997 prêt-à-porter collection, Les Insectes.

© Patrice Stable, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

A model wearing a rubber “tire” suit from Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1997 couture collection, Les Insectes, in collaboration with Abel Villareal.

© Helmut Newton, courtesy of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin and Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris

Claudia Lynx wearing Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1995 collection at his 20th anniversary presentation, photographed by Helmut Newton.