The fashion world is mourning the death of yet another legend. Manfred Thierry Mugler died Sunday at his home in Vincennes, outside Paris. According to his agent, he died of natural causes. Mugler was 73.
Mugler’s death comes just days after the death of Vogue magazine’s legendary André Leon Talley at the age of 73.
“We are devastated to announce the passing of Manfred Thierry Mugler on Sunday, January 23, May his soul Rest in Peace,” posted representatives for Mugler on Instagram.
Mugler retired from the fashion industry in 2002 when Clarins, who had purchased the rights to his name, closed down the Mugler ready-to-wear line. After that, he reverted to the use of his birth name.
Kylie Minogue, Among Others, Pay Tribute
The news of Mugler’s death was met with a long list of tributes to the late designer.
Designers Jeremy Scott and Philip Treacy, models Bella Hadid, Linda Evangelista, Heidi Klum and Georgia May Jagger, photographer Mario Testino and singer Carla Bruni were amongst the many who expressed their grief at the news on Mugler’s Instagram.
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Kylie Minogue tweeted, “RIP [Manfred Thierry Mugler] You will shine on and on ….”
RIP #ManfredThierryMugler 💔 You will shine on and on …
— Kylie Minogue (@kylieminogue) January 24, 2022
Mugler became famous for his highly theatrical, sexualised and avant-garde design aesthetic. His clothing celebrated futurism, eroticism, surrealism and fetishism through the use of PVC, metal, feathers, plastic and faux-fur. Mugler frequently incorporated exaggerated shoulders and hips, highly cinched waists and plunging necklines into his highly sculptural designs.
Mugler was also noted for casting a highly diverse collection of models for his runway shows. Porn stars, drag queens, and transgender women regularly featured in his shows.
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Sharon Stone, George Michael, Lady Gaga, Grace Jones, David Bowie, Madonna, Cardi B and Rhianna were among Mugler’s long celebrity client list.
“I never dreamed of being a fashion designer. I wanted to be a director,” Mugler told The New York Times Style Magazine. “But fashion happened to be a good tool. It was a means of communicating.”
“The house of Mugler was a miracle, because we did it without much money. I built a global brand, and we did things that inspired so many people,” Mugler said in a 2017 interview with Elle.
“Fashion is beautiful, 3-D art on a human being. But it wasn’t enough, which is why I went on to create in other ways. For me, it wasn’t the right tool anymore,” he told Elle.
In the past few years, Mugler focused his attention on his successful line of perfumes, including Angel and Alien. He also collaborated with Beyoncé and designed many of her costumes for her I Am… tour in 2009.
More recently, Mugler designed Kim Kardashian’s infamous “wet-dress,” which she wore to the 2019 Met Gala. The dress, which took eight months to make, was the first creation from the House of Mugler in 20 years.
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Mugler also underwent a dramatic personal transformation after injuring himself in several accidents, drastically altering his appearance through plastic surgery and bodybuilding. “I think it’s important for people to be a complete realisation of themselves. I have always been fascinated by the human body, and I wanted to pay homage to what it can do,” he told Interview.
“I’ve done so much in my life. I’ve fought so much. I’m a superhero, so it’s normal to have the face of one,” Mugler said.
Mugler also directed George Michael’s iconic video for Too Funky and cast supermodels Eva Herzigova, Linda Evangelista, Nadja Auermann and Tyra Banks, as well as the original Catwoman, Julie Newmar.
‘Ahead of His Time in Many Ways’
Born in Strasbourg, France, in 1948, Mugler was a professional ballet dancer with the Ballet du Rhin. He also worked as a model, acrobat, photographer and stylist. He moved to Paris in 1967 to focus on fashion design, and in 1973, he launched his first brand, Café de Paris. Mugler opened his first Parisian boutique in 1978 and began a men’s line the same year.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but fashion took off for me very quickly in Paris as soon as I showed my sketches,” Mugler told WWD.
Mugler “was ahead of his time in many ways, from the phenomenon of celebrity-as-model to his relationship with the music world, and the cultural impact of fashion in contemporary society,” Olivier Gabet, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, told WWD in September.
In a post on Instagram, Sandrine Groslier, the president of fashion and fragrance at Mugler, remembered Mugler as “A genius jack-of-all-trades, an artist for whom measurement was not part of his vocabulary. He marked the world of fashion and beauty forever. He was funny, passionate, crazy at times, and he always knew how to pay tribute with a lot of emotion to All women.”
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