I have a deep respect for people who do what they love and love what they do. Irrespective of the art form, it inspires me when a creative soul finds their own voice and expresses their unique point of view, regardless of the opinions of others. Thierry Mugler was one of those unique fashion designers who had the courage to experiment and the talent to create his own daring, often controversial designs. The Mugler silhouette is one that is instantly recognizable and his bold designs have secured him a permanent place in history as a true fashion visionary.
What has always interested me about Thierry Mugler, is his evolution as a designer. Though his early shows were very well attended and well known for being extravagant, it will really be the 1990's shows that present refined representations of the style that is now synonymous with his name.
Since Spring is just around the corner, I thought we could visit some of the earlier Thierry Mugler Spring/Summer collections that give us glimpses of the signature details that would eventually become iconic Mugler style elements.
In Mugler's 1979 Spring/Summer show, you can see the unique shapes and metallic futuristic fabrics that become a part of Mugler's design aesthetic. Often misunderstood, he faced a lot of criticism for putting women back into restrained shapes and corsets. But, his models were always strong, Amazon like women who never looked victimized by fashion. He believed that women should claim and own their power and even his early fashions are examples of that.
The Spring/Summer 1980 show featured a rainbow of ethereal fabrics mixed with matching satin bras with off shoulder sleeves. The unique combination of fabrics was a glimpse into future Mugler experiments with various combinations of unique materials, fabrics and textures. The models evoked the spirit of warrior genies.
The Spring/Summer 1981 show presented women armored with breast plate like belts and almost prehistoric warrior vibes. The strong Mugler silhouette is becoming even more defined. His shows always featured leather, and this one was dominated by various copper and brown shades of leather that contrasted the colorful flowing jersey fabrics worn by other models.
The Spring/Summer 1982 show was a literal garden of organza in every color of the rainbow, often with literal petals creating the voluminous skirts of the dresses. The giant hats would foreshadow Mugler's love of oversized chapeaus. His hats would become a huge part of his shows and accentuate the proportions of his designs.
Spring/Summer 1983 was defined by angular dinosaur like spikes and free flowing fringe. The masked hats were powerful statements, evoking batwoman strength.
1984 presented a contradiction of models in lacey and frilly dresses and those in monochromatic menswear inspired coats and trousers.
The 1985 S/S collection presented bold colors on leather, denim, and cotton, cleverly combined with Western details, embroidery, and even crochet. Mugler's strong lines and cut outs were an important part of the collection.
The Spring/Summer 1986 collection continued to represent the strength that Mugler saw in women. His bras and bustiers were a defining part of this collection and the now famous bugler blazer shape was again on the runway.
The S/S 1987 show was considered a tame one, in comparison to Mugler's more evocative extravaganzas. I find it interesting that he created lingerie inspired pieces and that he used tulle to create his signature shapes. These Roman goddesses wear shapes in pastel tulle that later are replicated in twills, wool and metal.
The 1988 African inspired show was filled with hair like fur, feathers and reptilian embossed fabrics. The female warrior theme is strengthened with statement jewelry and dramatic hairstyles.
1989 brings a lot of Mugler's design aesthetic together. Entitled 'Les Atlantes,' this ocean inspired collection was my favorite of the 1980's. Mermaids and exotic sea creatures wore metallic scales, organza shaped like feathers, and winged busts. These elements would be seen again and again in his pieces.
The 1990's would see iconic shows including probably the most famous "Les Insectes" in Spring/Summer 1997. The common thread between all of these shows and in Mugler's signature pieces is power and strength. The women were not the pale, frail ultra thin runway models the rest of the fashion world seemed to value.
Much like his designs, Mugler preferred those who walked the runways in his shows to be confident, strong and brave. That kind of attitude is one that we embrace at Modig - the most beautiful people in the world are those that don't hide behind others opinions, or fleeting trends. Beauty is only found in authenticity. Don't be afraid to show the world who you really are, Thierry Mugler did just that, and we think it worked out pretty well for him!