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Manfred Thierry Mugler Was a Fashion Game Changer

Manfred Thierry Mugler Was a Fashion Game Changer

The fashion world lost another of its most influential figures yesterday with the passing of French fashion designer and couturier Manfred Thierry Mugler.

His passing was announced in a post by the official Mugler Instagram account: “It is with deep sadness that the House of Mugler announces the passing of Mr Manfred Thierry Mugler. A visionary whose imagination as a couturier, perfumer and image-maker empowered people around the world to be bolder and dream bigger every day.”

Once a ballet dancer, Mugler was a key player in the high-octane fashion scene of the ‘80s and ’90s. He was the primary proponent of the broad-shouldered, cinched-waist silhouette that came to dominate the era, and found muses that fit his vision: Texan supermodel Jerry Hall was in his circle, as was pop star Grace Jones. “Thierry Mugler. His talent was everything,” said costume designer Arianne Phillips on Instagram. “Delicious, chic, perverse and beautiful. A true culture shifter.”

To younger generations, Mugler will probably be best remembered for his enormously popular fragrances Angel and Alien, his work with Beyonce during her Sasha Fierce period, and for his perfectly cultivated “muscle man” physique. More recently, Mugler dressed Kim Kardashian at the 2019 Met Gala. Those who attended his runway shows will remember him as a true fashion game changer—a gifted couturier with a knack for conjuring glamour and an acute understanding of how best to accentuate the female form.

Beyond his groundbreaking womenswear, Mugler also launched a dedicated men's line, which specialised in sharp-shouldered, zoot-style suits. He designed clothes for David Bowie and he both dressed and directed the cast for George Michael’s Too Funky music video in 1992. Through it all, he championed of the LGBTQ+ community both on his runways and in his campaigns.

“The Mugler show at BONDS Disco 1980, was a major life-changer," said designer Marc Jacobs n Instagram. “Never had I seen or experienced anything like it. The glamour! The Fashion! The women! The extraordinary execution of an out-of-this-world dream by fashion’s most incredible showman. Thank you for sharing your wildest fantasies. Rest in peace Manfred Thierry Mugler.”

Fashion’s favorite DJ (and former Mugler collaborator) Michele Gaubert shared the sentiment. “Shocked to hear about the passing of Manfred Thierry Mugler," he wrote. "The man with the amazing vision, who set the tone of the time like no other. I am honoured to have collaborated with you.”

Mugler departed his eponymous fashion label in 2002 and spent the past two decades in relative seclusion, cherry-picking projects as the mood took him. He worked with Beyonce for the second time in 2008, for her I Am world tour, and he also directed the music video for San Marino’s Eurovision song contest entry in 2016. According to his agency, Mugler had been due to announce a series of new fashion collaborations this week.

“Lately I’ve been losing too many people that were close to me," said Burberry’s creative director Riccardo Tisci via Instagram. “Thierry you are definitely one of them. You started as a hero, my deepest inspiration and the one that showed the world how to be inclusive in every sense throughout your art and genius.” He continued, "You will be very missed but fly high new and angel and be surrounded by the same joy you were spreading on earth.”

This story originally ran on British GQ with the title “Fashion loses another visionary with the death of Manfred Thierry Mugler"

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