Not Just A Label – Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler was born on the 21st December 1948 in France. He quickly developed a strong passion for the arts, spending too much time drawing to do well in his classes. At the age of 9 he began studying classical dance, by 14 he had joined the ballet corps for the Rhin Opera. It was around this time that Mugler created his very first outfit for a girlfriend.

After earning his degree from the Ecole Arts Decoratifs, Thierry Mugler moved to Paris. Within a year he had secured himself a steady job as a window dresser and designer for Parisian store ‘Gudule’ as well as taking many freelance jobs for the couturiers of Paris, Milan and London.

In 1973 Mugler debuted his first womenswear collection ‘Cafe de Paris’, a refined, urban collection, after which he was joined by Azzedine Alaia, until the late 70s. In 1972, design firm ‘Moonlighting’ employed Mugler as a ready to wear designer for their Italian lines. A year later he began designing under his own label in partnership with Alain Cardeuc. Melka Trenton, a famous fashion editor, impressed by his work, helped launch his career further. In 1976, she asked him to show his work in Tokyo for an event hosted by Shiseido, gaining him worldwide recognition.

In 1978, he opened his own boutique in Paris, featuring his latest collection of urban, punk inspired pieces and a menswear line, consisting of wide shoulders and structured cuts, embodying masculine elegance.  During the 80s, Thierry Mugler gained true international success. He and a handful of other top designers were pioneering a new trend depicting women as exaggerated Hollywood villains, futuristic evil aliens and bondage retailers of illicit sex. His collections featured wide accentuated shoulders and structured shapes. He created a silhouette which emphasized curves with strict structure and stretch fabrics, lycra and vinyl, decorated with leather patches, pointed edges and solid colours. His clothing did not lack drama, he quickly attracted the attention of celebrities, critics and other top designers as well as gaining commercial success.

In 1984 he celebrated 10 years of his fashion house by organising  a ‘Super Paying Show’ which was a resounding success. The 6000 name long guest list read like the who’s who of fashion. In 1987 Thierry Mugler opened his second Parisian boutique, what was to become the base of his Thierry Mugler universe. During the early 90s he began to develop perfumes and he spared no expense, no sum was too much for the perfect scent. His first perfume was Angel, brought out in 1992. That same year, at the request of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, he unveiled his first Haute Couture collection at the Ritz. Since then he has opened many new boutiques and perfumes, he has become the first designer to create a virtual fashion show to be seen on the web and he has continued to dazzle people with his pieces.

Mugler published his first photography book in 1988, “Thierry Mugler, Photographe”. This first book was followed by a monograph in 1999 entitled, “Fashion Fetish Fantasy” which assembles photos of his creations. Mugler also directs short films, advertising films and video clips. He regularly designs costumes for musical comedies, concerts, operas and the theatre (including Macbeth for the Comedie Francaise). He has worked with such artists as Robert Altman and George Michael (he directed the video for Michael’s “Too Funky” in 1992). He also directed the first advertising film for one of his fragrances, Alien. In 2002 Mugler collaborated with the Cirque du Soleil. He directed “Extravaganza”, one of the scenes of Zumanity, but also created all of the costumes and the identity of the characters in the show. In 2009, Thierry Mugler worked as artistic advisor to singer Beyonce. He created the costumes for her “I Am” World Tour. He also designed the exquisite LBD that Demi Moore wore  in Indecent Proposal. Wow!

In September 2010, Nicola Forminchetti was announced to be the new Creative Director of the Thierry Mugler brand. He changed the brand name to MUGLER, removing the first name, and in January 2011, he launched the brand’s first menswear collection in collaboration with Romain Kremer. With over two years of being the creative director of MUGLER, Formichetti announced in April, 2013 that he and the fashion house will be parting ways. In December 2013, House of Mugler announced that David Koma is the new creative director.

He has also found body building in later life. An April 2010 New York Times story discussed Mugler’s cosmetic transformation of his face body and genitals. “[Mugler has] taken to calling himself Manfred and transformed his body…into what is apparently a 240-pound spectacle of muscle and nipple and tattoo…”  He is something of an enigma and We LOVE him!

Shop Thierry Mugler in our collection: 1980s Thierry Mugler Space Age Jacket