Thierry Mugler: Couturissime

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime

 Installation view, Thierry Mugler: Couturissime. Brooklyn Museum, November 18, 2022–May 7, 2023. (Photo: Danny Perez, Brooklyn Museum)

Thierry Mugler, one of the most audacious and creative fashion designers of the late 20th century, is on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. The exhibit is a retrospective on the French designers long and storied career.

Featuring over 100 outfits, the collection pulls from various projects. Perennially across these pieces we see his development as an artist and changing style. In addition, we see his unending dedication and passion for his craft.

Evidently, recently wearing some of Mugler’s pieces we see Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Cardi B partnering with the fashion icon.

Pat Cleveland in Thierry Mugler for the finale of the tenth anniversary of the Mugler label in Paris, 1984. Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1984–85 collection (“Hiver des anges – 10 ans”). Silk chiffon caped gown adorned with crystals. (Photo: Guy Marineau/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images)

During the 1970s Mugler coined the term “glamazon”. This describes a fashionable and modern woman whose style has evolved from the hippie looks of the 60’s. In fact, this would be the starting point for his exploration, as he ran with that concept and created bolder and more inventive outfits.

Bold Creative Fantasy

Later on in the 80s and 90s, Mugler took his designs to the next level by introducing new materials. Crafting them into more intricate structures, Mugler took inspirations ranging from fantasy to science fiction.

Helmut Newton (Berlin, 1920–2004, West Hollywood). Claudia Lynx, 1995. Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1995–96 collection (“Anniversaire des 20 ans”). Courtesy and © Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

Uniquely, one of the rarest pieces on display in this exhibition is the famous Mugler dress, ”La Chimère”. Unquestionably, it was the most expensive couture dresses ever designed during it’s time and even today has only a few competitors.

Emil Larsson (born Sweden). Detail of “La Chimère.” © Emil Larsson

Despite, looking at times like a mermaid, and others like a dragon, the dress strikes the eye from any angle. Undeniably, regardless of resemblance one can see the dedication and craftsmanship that went into it.

Painting each scale by hand, artisans built them into the construction of the dress over the course of two years. Contributing the central and eye catching golden corset was none other than Mr. Pearl, the famous corset maker from South Africa. The dress also features an array of feathers, crystals, and horsehair certainly giving it an unreal pop.

While ”La Chimère” steals the show wherever it goes, this showing is an opportunity for fashion noobs and long time fans to engage with Mugler’s work personally. You can see a man-on-fire through 100 different looks, and will be able to do so until May 7th.

In conclusion this is a must see for anyone looking to get into fashion or who is already a die hard. Grab your tickets here and watch more below!

All Images Via the Brooklyn Museum Website

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