Icon designers (of rubber, latex, chiffon, etc.), singers, comedians, writers…man, are we losing them! Thierry Mugler died over the weekend.
As much creating signature styles for Beyoncé, Grace Jones, and David Bowie, to name but a few iconic musicians, it was Mugler who made “the most famous dress of the 1990s,” the stunning black dress Demi Moore wore in Indecent Proposal as well as he who created Angel perfume. He also redefined the fashion show, as much by what the models wore as who his models were; Mugler was one of the first to have drag queens, trans women, and ‘adult’-movie stars walk his runways.
It was arguably the 1995 Mugler Couture show (often called the W95 couture spectacle and tagged “the Woodstock of fashion”) where he made an indelible mark across the culture. Celebrating his 20th anniversary, the show held at the Cirque d’Hiver, saw Mugler famously mix PVC, vinyl and rubber with haute couture to wild acclaim.
His “Cyborg” suit of metal breastplates was just one of many showstoppers.
The sex appeal in this collection was also unavoidable, with ball gowns featuring cut-outs across the buttocks and other designs featuring black latex lashings; Jean Pual Gaultier and Martin Margiela were surely put on notice. But, beyond the fashions on display at W95 and beyond, it was the productions of Mugler’s shows that had them take on more of the feel of a rock concert. One no doubt feels their influence on modern shows like what Kanye attempts with Yeezy.
By the way, James Brown ended the W95 with a medley of greatest hits.
Not that any of this was surprising as Mugler, a ballet dancer who became a fashion designer, is often quoted as saying what he most wanted to be was a director.
Which he did do, coming to directing music videos as well as dress the stars in them.
Giving birth to what is now considered an iconic fashion look, the “Muglarian silhouette,” here the man explored bold shoulder design married with a tiny waist, often using latex as his main source textile. Most recently, Lady Gaga wore the designers’ wardrobe in her music video “Telephone,” Cardi B showed off his designs out and about, and he created a bespoke creation for Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala.
Thierry Mugler, another great, dying too soon, but whose work will live on.