Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler
Manfred Thierry Mugler.jpg
Mugler in 2014
Manfred Thierry Mugler

(1948-12-21)21 December 1948
Strasbourg, France
Died23 January 2022(2022-01-23) (aged 73)
Vincennes, France
OccupationFashion designer
Known forAngel fragrance, perfumes, Demi Moore's dress from Indecent Proposal

Manfred Thierry Mugler (French pronunciation: ​[manfʁɛd tjɛʁi myɡlɛʁ]; 21 December 1948 – 23 January 2022) was a French fashion designer, creative director and creative adviser of Mugler. In the 1970s, Mugler launched his eponymous fashion house; and quickly rose to prominence in the following decades for his avant-garde, architectural, hyperfeminine and theatrical approach to haute couture.[1][2] He was one of the first designers to champion diversity in his runway shows, which often tackled racism and ageism, and incorporated non-traditional models such as drag queens, pornstars, and transgender women.[3][4] In 2002, he retired from the brand, and returned in 2013 as the creative adviser.[5]

At the beginning of his career he designed signature looks for Michael Jackson,[6] Madonna,[7] Grace Jones,[8] David Bowie and Diana Ross; and most notably Demi Moore's dress from the 1993 movie Indecent Proposal, which was once coined "the most famous dress of the 1990s". In 1992, he directed and designed the outfits for George Michael's "Too Funky" music video.[9] While also launching the perfume Angel, which became one of the best-selling perfumes of the 20th century.[10][11] Mugler's fall 1995 haute couture collection marking the 20th anniversary of his brand, was staged at the Cirque d’Hiver venue in Paris; and has been referred to as the "Woodstock of Fashion", for having over 300 designed looks, an elaborate set design, dozens of high profile supermodels and a performance from James Brown.[12][13]

In later years, Mugler's vintage designs saw a significant resurgence among celebrities, including Lady Gaga in the music video for "Telephone", and Cardi B who had an extensive friendship with Mugler, often wearing his vintage designs on red carpets and music videos, as well as mentioning the brand in the song "Wild Side".[14][15][16] He also designed costumes for Beyoncé's I Am... World Tour,[17][18] thus making his brand one of the most coveted luxury vintage brands for Generation Z consumers, according to Teen Vogue.[19] In 2019, he created a one-off design for Kim Kardashian to wear to the Met Gala.[20][21] That same year the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) launched the 'Thierry Mugler: Couturissime' exhibition dedicated to him.[22]

Early life and education

Mugler was born in Strasbourg. His passion led him to focus more on drawing than on school,[23][citation needed] and at the age of 9, he began to study classical dance.[24] By 14, he joined the ballet corps for the Rhin Opera (Opéra national du Rhin).[25]

At the same time, Mugler began formal interior design training at the Strasbourg School of Decorative Arts.[26]


In 1971, in his early twenties, Mugler began designing clothes for Karim,[27] already showing the broad-shouldered, 1940s-derived looks he would become famous for in later years.[28] At the age of 24, Mugler moved to Paris. He began designing clothes for Parisian boutique, Gudule. At 26, Mugler, who was working as a freelance designer, began to design for a variety of large ready-to-wear fashion houses in Paris, Milan, London and Barcelona.[26]

In 1973, Mugler created his first personal collection called "Café de Paris". The style of the collection was both sophisticated and urban. Melka Tréanton, a powerful fashion editor, helped to launch his career. In 1976, she asked him to show his work in Tokyo for an event organized by Shiseido.[29] In 1978, he opened his first Paris boutique at the Place des Victoires in the 1er Arrondissement and rapidly gained attention as among the most extreme of the Fall 1978 broad-shoulder brigade of designers, with a penchant for mid-20th-century sci-fi themes and exaggerated 1940s-50s-style glamour marked by sharply constructed tailoring.[30][31][32][33] At the same time, Mugler launched a fashion collection for men. He would continue into the following decade with his 1940s-style shoulders on 1950s-tailored suits[34] amid retrograde Wagnerian showmanship.[35]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Mugler became an internationally recognized designer, often grouped with Claude Montana and Azzedine Alaïa[36][37][38] but known especially for his shapely suits,[39] and his collections garnered much commercial success. Except for a couple of sedate salon presentations in the late eighties[40][41] (when he also reduced his shoulder padding),[42] his fashion shows were extravagant affairs held in arena-like environments[43][44] and the collections associated with them had themes,[45] sci-fi themes in the late seventies,[46] an Africa theme one season,[47] a vampire-devil theme the next,[48] and an aquatic theme the next.[49] At the request of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, he completed his first haute couture collection in 1992.[50]

He designed the dresses of Viktor Lazlo for hosting Eurovision 1987 Throwback Thursday: 1987.

He created the black dress worn by Demi Moore in the 1993 movie, Indecent Proposal.

An evening dress by Thierry Mugler in an Indianapolis Museum of Art exhibit
A dress by Mugler in an Indianapolis Museum of Art exhibit

Mugler published his first photography book in 1988, Thierry Mugler: Photographer.[51] This was followed by a monograph in 1999 entitled, Fashion Fetish Fantasy which assembles photos of his creations.[52]

Mugler also directed short films, advertising films and video clips. He regularly designed costumes for musical comedies, concerts, operas and the theatre (including Macbeth for the Comédie Française). He worked with 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.

Clarins has held the rights to his name Thierry Mugler since 1997.[53]

Retirement from fashion

Clarins shuttered the ready-to-wear component of Mugler's brand in 2003, due to financial losses. It kept the perfume division open as it was profitable.[54] Mugler left fashion in 2002.[55] When asked about the subject, he said: "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. But perfume still interests me".[56]

In 2002, Mugler collaborated with the Cirque du Soleil. He directed "Extravaganza", one of the scenes of Zumanity, and also created all of the costumes and the identity of the characters in the show.

In 2008, the Mugler brand launched Thierry Mugler Beauty, a high-end line of cosmetics.

In 2009, Mugler worked as artistic advisor to singer Beyoncé.[57] He created the costumes for her "I Am... World Tour".[25]

In September 2010, Nicola Formichetti was announced to be the 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 revival of the brand's menswear collection in collaboration with Romain Kremer.[58]

An April 2010 New York Times story discussed Mugler's cosmetic transformation. "[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..."[53]

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. Formichetti left MUGLER to work for the Italian brand Diesel.[59]

In December 2013, House of Mugler announced David Koma as the artistic director.[60]

In 2016, Mugler created and directed the music video and staging for San Marino's Eurovision Song Contest entry I Didn't Know performed by Turkish singer Serhat.[61]

Despite retiring from his brand in 2003, he made the exception to design under his name "House of Mugler" for the Met Gala in 2019 and for Kim Kardashian. Getting his inspiration from Sophia Loren in the film Boy on a Dolphin, Mugler envisioned a wet California girl; hence the creation of the "wet couture dress".[62][63]


Angel for men (A*Men)

Mugler's first perfume appeared in 1992 and was called Angel. "Angel" contains a combination of praline and chocolate mixed with a strong accord of patchouli. It would be a part of a new fragrance type called gourmand. The Angel bottle, a design in the shape of a faceted star, was created by the Brosse Master Glassmakers. Fans of the fragrance include Diana Ross, Barbara Walters, Eva Mendes and Hillary Clinton.[64]

In 1996, Mugler followed up Angel with a male version named Angel Men or A*Men. This fragrance includes notes of caramel, coffee, vanilla, patchouli and honey.[65]

In 2005, Alien was created, the second major Thierry Mugler fragrance. Also in 2005, Mugler launched the "Thierry Mugler Perfume Workshops", which are open to the general public and led by specialists of the perfumery and oenology world.[66]

In 2006, Mugler completed a project for the launch of Tom Tykwer's film "Perfume". In collaboration with the IFF company, Mugler created a box set of fifteen compositions.[67]

During 2007, still following the metamorphosis theme, Mugler launched Mirror, Mirror, a collection of five fragrances, created as "perfume-trickery" to "enhance one's presence".[68]

Angel and Alien together produce about $280 million in sales annually.[69]

In 2010, the fragrance Womanity was released by the House of Mugler.[70]

Mugler's newest fragrance, Angel Muse, was released in 2015 and Angel Nova was released in June 2020.[citation needed]

Personal life and death

Mugler was openly gay and a longtime bodybuilder.[71][72] Following his departure from fashion he became reclusive, went by his first name (Manfred) and began extensive bodybuilding. In 2019, he said "Thierry Mugler" was a label and a brand, and as such he wanted to move on to other things.[55]

Mugler had several accidents that changed his appearance. His nose was destroyed in a jeep crash. A motorcycle accident involved steel cables which saw Mugler have a piece of metal removed from his leg. In an interview with Interview magazine, Mugler stated, "I asked another surgeon if he could do some things to my chin, and then I was happy to get the bloody anesthesia. He actually took a piece of bone from my hip and put it on my chin, so I don’t have any plastic or silicone. It’s all bones. I wanted my face to represent progress, because after years of being a thin, charming dancer, I wanted to be a warrior. 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."[73]

Mugler died of natural causes at his residence in Vincennes, Paris on 23 January 2022, at the age of 73.[74][72]


  1. ^ "Iconic Fashion Designer Manfred Thierry Mugler Has Passed Away Age 73". Marie Claire. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  2. ^ Kloster, Caroline (20 November 2020). "Why Did Mugler Become the Go-To Brand for Celebrities?". CR Fashion Book. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  3. ^ Diderich, Joelle (28 September 2021). "The Originals: Manfred Thierry Mugler". WWD. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  4. ^ Dazed (25 May 2018). "That time a porn star and Ivana Trump walked for Mugler". Dazed. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  5. ^ Fenner, Justin (19 April 2013). "Thierry Mugler Returns to Mugler After Departure of Formichetti's Designers". POPSUGAR Fashion. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  6. ^ "MICHAEL JACKSON PHOTOSHOOT JACKET". Retrieved 24 January 2022.
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  11. ^ Burr, Chandler (6 January 2009). The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-42577-7.
  12. ^ Feingold, Sarah. "90s Nostalgia: Backstage At Thierry Mugler Fall/Winter 1995 – NBGA MAG – No Basic Girls Allowed". Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  13. ^ Woo, Kin (1 March 2019). "'The Woodstock of Fashion': Remembering Thierry Mugler's Most Legendary Show". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Normani feat. Cardi B 'Wild Side' lyrics meaning explained". Capital XTRA. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
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  17. ^ Sayej, Nadja (19 March 2019). "7 Dresses That Define Thierry Mugler, From Cardi B to Kim K". Garage. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  18. ^ ""You Have To Be Brave To Be Happy": Thierry Mugler On His Quest For True Beauty". British Vogue. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
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  25. ^ a b "Mugler Joins the Cirque". WWD. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
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  27. ^ Mulvagh, Jane (1988). "1971". Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion. London, England: Viking, the Penguin Group. p. 319. ISBN 0-670-80172-0. Thierry Mugler (for Karim) velvet jersey, bias-cut skirt and blouse.
  28. ^ Mulvagh, Jane (1988). "1971". Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion. London, England: Viking, the Penguin Group. p. 322. ISBN 0-670-80172-0. Thierry Mugler showed his first collection in Paris, which concentrated on an angular, wide-shouldered cut reminiscent of the forties.
  29. ^ "Window Display Exhibition in Paris to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Shiseido Cosmetics Sales in France" (PDF) (Press release). 19 August 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  30. ^ Morris, Bernadine (9 April 1979). "Paris Fashions Unveiled in Super Bowl Style". The New York Times. p. D8. Retrieved 8 December 2021. Montana and Mugler both pioneered the giant shoulder‐pad movement last year [1978]...
  31. ^ Duka, John (13 November 1978). "Paris is Yesterday". New York. Vol. 11, no. 46. pp. 111–112. Retrieved 11 December 2021. [I]f [Paris designers] have their way, American women will be wearing big, big, big padded shoulders...On the Flash Gordon side of French ready-to-wear Retro are such designers as Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler, and France Andrevie....At Mugler,...[it took the form of] a big-shouldered Flash Gordon jacket...
  32. ^ Russell, Mary (8 April 1979). "Fashion/Beauty Fallout from Paris". The New York Times. p. SM19. Retrieved 13 December 2021. The Paris avant‐garde designers Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana continue taking fashion risks and making headlines with futuristic leathers and knits....Thierry Mugler loves the Krypton scenes from Superman, but his futuristic clothes are real...
  33. ^ "Fashion View". The New York Times. 30 December 1979. p. SM6. Retrieved 10 December 2021. ...Thierry Mugler's Star Trekesque gigantic shoulders....
  34. ^ Morris, Bernadine (27 February 1983). "The Directions of the Innovators". The New York Times. p. 132. Retrieved 15 December 2021. Today's avant-garde designers -including the Frenchmen Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaia - strike out in many directions. But, while some seem radical, they are actually reworking themes from the past, borrowing from periods before the 1960's.
  35. ^ Mulvagh, Jane (1988). "1976-1986". Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion. London, England: Viking, the Penguin Group. p. 345. ISBN 0-670-80172-0. Mugler...present[ed] plastic breastplates, space suits, three-foot-wide shoulders, molded nipples, cinched torsos and tottering high heels.
  36. ^ Morris, Bernadine (1 November 1985). "Provocative is the Word for Spring". The New York Times. p. A22. Retrieved 14 December 2021. [Alaïa] went on to influence the cut of the clothes of his friends Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler.
  37. ^ Morris, Bernadine (21 September 1982). "Notes on Fashion". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved 13 December 2021. ...[H]ow explain the resurgence of short, tight skirts, body-cupping knitted dresses, spindly heels and other constricting clothes...[f]avored by...such designers as Azzedine Alaia, Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana[?]...
  38. ^ Mulvagh, Jane (1988). "1976-1986". Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion. London, England: Viking, the Penguin Group. p. 345. ISBN 0-670-80172-0. Like Gaultier and Montana, Mugler married couture traditions with cult dressing....The overt sexuality of Mugler's clothes was upstaged by his close friend Azzedine Alaïa...
  39. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1989). "Designers of the World, Unite!". Details: 304. ...[B]uyers and clients recognized–and ordered–[Mugler's] wonderfully tailored suits.
  40. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1988). "Fashionating Rhythm". Details: 120. For the last year [1987], Mugler had successfully retreated to intimate showroom presentations...
  41. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1987). "The Collections Spring Forward". Details: 104. Thierry Mugler...chang[ed] the location of his show to the intimacy of a small 150-seat salon, rather than mounting his customary spectacle for 2500-5000 viewers...
  42. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1987). "The Collections Spring Forward": 102, 120. ...Mugler broke away from his heroic silhouette to a softer proportioned one....moving away from his heavily padded soft, delicate dresses and transparent gowns...with demure puffed sleeves. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  43. ^ McColl, Patricia (18 March 1984). "Fashion Preview". The New York Times. p. 79. Retrieved 14 December 2021. Instead of a classic runway exhibition, Mugler has taken over the Salle du Zenith (a pop-music concert hall) and sold tickets for 4,000 of the 6,000 seats because, as he has always claimed, 'fashion is a spectacle'.
  44. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1988). "Fashionating Rhythm". Details: 120. Mugler...returned to a grand-scale theatrical production....Like previous Mugler spectacles, the production dwarfed many of the designs. There is no denying the entertainment value of Mugler's show...
  45. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1989). "Designers of the World, Unite!". Detailis: 303. Mugler...has always built his collections around a theme, often a tightrope walk between the magical and the ridiculous.
  46. ^ Russell, Mary (2 April 1978). "Fall Fashion Preview". The New York Times. p. SM19. Retrieved 13 December 2021. Thierry Mugler goes sci‐fi with Flash Gordon, and walks on the wild side with shiny leather jackets and epauleted cadets.
  47. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1988). "Fashionating Rhythm". Details: 120. The theme was African, a sort of stereotype of the Frenchman's fantasy of colonial Africa.
  48. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 September 1988). "The Collections". Details: 191, 283. Mugler blended vampires with Paris high fashion....Thierry Mugler unleashed a sinister parade of vampires and bedeviled goddesses.
  49. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1989). "Designers of the World, Unite!". Details: 199, 303–307. Thierry Mugler went underwater in search of sea goddesses....From Thierry Mugler's...underwater-inspired collection, a lamé mermaid gown with fish-gill slashes on the hips and thighs that opened and closed as the model moved. Sea monster dresses....This year's...clothes have been constructed with fins down the shoulders,...suit pockets cut out like the toothy jaws of a shark,...fin-shaped earrings,...[and] suit jacket[s] shades of blue water.
  50. ^ "Turbulence Continues off High Fashion's Runways : Mugler Sets Couture Line". The New York Times International Edition. 4 February 1992. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  51. ^ Thierry Mugler: Photographer
  52. ^ Thierry Mugler: Fashion Fetish Fantasy
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  54. ^ "Thierry Mugler bids au revoir to couture. (News)". European Cosmetic Markets. 20 (2). February 2003.
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  60. ^ Socha, Miles (12 December 2013). "Thierry Mugler Names David Koma Artistic Director". WWD.
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  62. ^ Lezmi, Josh (6 May 2019). "The Inspiration Behind Kim Kardashian's Met Gala Look". Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  63. ^ "Why This Wild '80s Designer Is Making a Comeback". The Cut. 27 February 2019.
  64. ^ "The Celebrity Fragrance Guide | Colognes, Perfumes & Fragrances that Celebrities Wear". The Celebrity Fragrance Guide.
  65. ^ "A*Men Mugler cologne - a fragrance for men 1996". Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  66. ^ "5 ФАКТОВ О ДИЗАЙНЕРЕ ТЬЕРРИ МЮГЛЕРЕ И ЕГО БРЕНДЕ MUGLER". Elle Ukraine (in Russian). 24 January 2022.
  67. ^ "'Perfume' — It's Not Another Snuff Film". Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  68. ^ "Thierry Mugler Miroir Miroir / Mirror Mirror Collection ~ new fragrances :: Now Smell This". Retrieved 24 January 2022.
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  71. ^ "Thierry Mugler". Vice. 6 April 2010.
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  73. ^ "Thierry Mugler Bares All". Interview Magazine. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  74. ^ "French fashion designer Thierry Mugler dies aged 73". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2022.

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