Thierry Mugler Obituary: Fashion designer in Bowie, Beyoncé dead at 73


Famous French fashion designer Thierry Mugler, whose eponymous fashion line was worn by Diana Ross, David Bowie, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, died on Sunday at the age of 73.

His death was announced on the designer’s personal Instagram page and later confirmed on Mugler’s official fashion account, with the brand calling him “a visionary whose imagination as a couturier, perfumer and image maker, enabled people around the world to be bolder and dream bigger every day.A cause of death was not immediately available.

Ross, meanwhile, posted a throwback photo with her friend on Twitter, calling it a “wonderful time in our lives.”

Born in Strasbourg, France, Mugler spent his early years immersed in dance, before finding his calling in fashion, seemingly drawn from the experience of designing his own outfits for recitals and performances. Mugler moved to Paris in his twenties to intern at several French fashion houses before launching his own collection in 1973.

Over the years, the Mugler brand became synonymous with bold, rebellious style, with dramatic pieces that referenced everything from fine art and theater to architecture and androids. A favorite of supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, Mugler’s work has also quickly crossed over into the music world, with many of the world’s biggest artists claiming his hallmark pieces.

One of the first great musicians to put Mugler on the map was David Bowie, who wore a famous Mugler dress for his 1979 Saturday Night Live appearance. Mugler would later design Bowie’s classic black tuxedo for the singer’s wedding to model Iman in 1992.

Mugler also enjoyed a close relationship with George Michael, designing the outfits for Michael’s “Too Funky” music video, in which the singer led a fictional runway show as models Linda Evangelista and Tyra Banks walked the runway in custom Mugler catsuits. , motorcycle-inspired lace dresses and corsets. Beyoncé would later wear the Harley Davidson corset featured in the video in promotional photos from her 2009 “I Am…” tour.

As well as working with Bowie and Michael, Mugler often dressed stars like Madonna and Ross, the latter memorably waltzing down the runway during the designer’s butterfly-inspired show in 1991. Tracee Ellis Ross, then 19 , also followed her mother while walking in the show.

Although he officially retired from the label in 2003 (the label is currently run by American designer Casey Cadwallader), Mugler’s influence has continued to be seen – and felt – in the music. Lady Gaga delved into Mugler’s archives for her 2010 “Telephone” music video, sporting a dramatic, sculptural costume dress and hat from the designer’s 1995 collection. The singer also wore a latex rubber Mugler dress to the 2011 Grammys – after she excited the now infamous ‘egg’ to accept her awards on stage.

Other musicians who have sported Mugler in recent years include Rihanna, Dua Lipa (who wore a Mugler bodysuit for her rolling stone cover in January) and Katy Perry, who appeared in a 1990 rainbow-colored Mugler dress on her “Prismatic” world tour poster.

Cardi B was the latest artist to have access to Mugler’s archives, wearing a vintage dress inspired by the “Birth of Venus” from the designer’s fall 1995 collection on the Grammy red carpet in 2019. She then donned a white dress by Mugler’s 1997 collection, as she accepted her Grammy on stage for Best Rap Artist.

In recent years, Mugler had devoted himself to creative projects that incorporated his love of fashion and performance. Beyoncé personally approached him as artistic director for her “I Am…” world tour in 2009, after discovering his work on display at the Met. According to a promotional video for the tour, the singer had Mugler design the costumes for her and her dancers, with the designer designing 58 outfits in total. Mugler was also instrumental in the choreography, lighting design, and art direction of the show, as well as the production of the concert film that followed.

An accomplished photographer as well, Mugler released a hardcover photo tome in 2020, featuring more than 150 behind-the-scenes prints from his studio and personal collection.

Cardi B was one of the latest celebrities to be photographed with the designer, supporting Mugler at the opening of his retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris last September. Although she has yet to comment on Mugler’s death, her caption at the time called her, “Truly one of my favorite creative minds in the world.”


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