Monday, January 24, 2022

In memoriam: Thierry Mugler (1948-2022)

 Fashion designer Thierry Mugler passed away on January 23rd 2022 as announced on the designer's Instagram account. 

Although he had distanced himself from designing for many years, earned profits from his rights into several products bearing his brand, from sunglasses to Mugler fragrances, and he had completely transformed himself into the hybrid bodybuilder Manfred for a couple of decades now. His face, unrecognisable after several plastic surgeries gone amok, draws a tear from those of us who recall his earlier, smashing work as a young and promising designer in late 1980s and early 1990s Paris.


Lean and dynamic, fueled by a relentless energy and a penchant for Amazonian beauties, Mugler put a certain pizazz on the catwalk, promoted drag-queens and pop idols, and made Nadja Auermann an icon in his razor cut, big-shouldered suits and metal bustiers. Much like Helmut Newton, he seemed to really appreciate the power of women.

 I recall it was a real shock when fashion and style discussion boards flooded in the mid-2000s with pictures of him, shot in front of a mirror, stark naked and in slippers (of all things!) posing as a human transformer, all muscle and perverted features. The word was Manfred. We circulated the picture from email account to email account with jaws dropped at the damage he -seemed to have- inflicted on himself. He had retired from designing by then and sold his brand to Clarins in 1997, which was the luxury Group who collaborated with him in the first place to produce his seminal fragrances. Now we know better than to judge or body-shame. Thierry obviously needed the Manfred persona at that point in his life.


His seminal project for Angel eau de parfum was life-changing for the industry.  His other perfumes – Cologne, Alien, A*Men, Womanity, and perfume projects such as work with Tom Tykwer for the movie Perfume, and the Mirror Mirror collection were exception contributions to the art of perfumery.

Now that Thierry Mugler is dead, and his brand has changed hands from the original creators of his classics, it's time to reflect and honor that which he has given us. The propensity for boldness, the trust in ourselves not to fear. The confidence to wear what we please. And the realization that even ugliness at times can have a beatific effect in our lives.

Please read my dedicated article on 

RIP sweet prince, transported to a big galactic star in blue... 

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