French designer Manfred Thierry Mugler, known for the powerful-shouldered, nipped-waist silhouettes that dominated fashion in the 1980s, died of “natural causes” on Sunday at the age of 73, according to his agent.
Shown on highly stylized runway shows, former ballet dancer Mugler’s bold collections spearheaded the structured, decadent style that became known as “power dressing.”
“He was timeless and ahead of his time,” said supermodel Jerry Hall – the face of his best-selling perfume Angel – in 2019 of the early ’80s designer.” she told the New York Times.
Although Mugler retired from the label that bore his name in 2002, he did not give up making clothes. He was responsible for Beyoncé’s sci-fi inspired Sasha Fierce looks late 2000s. He also created costumes for Lady Gaga and Cardi B. In 2019, he created Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala look, a crystal-soaked latex dress.
“We are devastated to announce the death of Mr. Manfred Thierry Mugler on Sunday 23rd January 2022,” read a post on the designer’s official Facebook account.
Born in Strasbourg in December 1948, he came to Paris at the age of 20 and founded his own label “Cafe de Paris” in 1973, a year before Thierry Mugler founded it.
The LGBTQ community has been a frequent source of talent and inspiration for the designer. Mugler had been casting trans models for his runway shows since the 1980s and frequently worked with drag artists and club kids on and off the runway, including corset maker Mr. Pearl.
In the late 1990s, thanks to his blockbuster perfume Angel, the Mugler name began to be associated with fragrances rather than fashion. The rights to its name were acquired by cosmetics giant Clarins in 1997, and this fragrance and its derivatives remain bestsellers.
In 2002, Mugler’s fashion department closed However, the brand was revived in 2010 under the creative direction of stylist Nicola Formichetti and later Casey Cadwallader.
Mugler’s use of corsetry and his over-the-top approach to the female body has drawn criticism, but the designer was no less extreme with his own physique. 2019 the normally reclusive designer posed for a nude photo shoot with Interview Magazine and discussed his exhausting bodybuilding routine and cosmetic surgeries. “I think it’s important for people to be a full realization of themselves. I’ve always been fascinated by the human body and wanted to pay tribute to what it can do,” he said.
In 2019 the designer was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition, Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, which debuted in Montreal before touring to Paris in 2021.
The designer should have announced new collaborations earlier this week, his agent Jean-Baptiste Rougeot told Agence France-Presse.