Couturissime The first retrospective to explore the fascinating, edgy universe of French designer and creator of iconic perfumes Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” was unveiled on November, 16th in New York at the Brooklyn Museum. A major exhibition dedicated to the famous French designer who passed away in January 2022

The exhibition features over one hundred outfits ranging from haute couture pieces to stage costumes, alongside custom accessories, sketches, videos, images by leading fashion photographers, and spectacular installations that mirror Mugler’s futuristic approach. The Brooklyn Museum’s presentation also introduces an expanded section dedicated to fragrance, centered on Mugler’s trailblazing scent Angel. Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is an opportunity to discover and rediscover the fantastical work of this multidisciplinary artist, who revolutionized the world of fashion.

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is the first retrospective to explore the fascinating, edgy universe of French designer and creator of iconic perfumes Thierry Mugler. A fashion visionary, Mugler established himself as one of the most daring and innovative designers of the late twentieth century. His bold silhouettes and unorthodox techniques and materials—including glass, Plexiglas, vinyl, latex, and chrome—made their mark on fashion history.

Thierry Mugler Couturissime @Brooklyn Museum

Thierry Mugler Couturissime @Brooklyn Museum

The exhibition dedicated to the famous French fashion designer

The exhibition Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is on view in the Big Apple until May 7, 2023 and explores the work of the eponymous designer from the 1960s until his passing. Divided by themes and decades, the retrospective shows the evolution of his work as a couturier but also the personal interests that contributed to the nurturing of his creativity. The main concept present at the exhibition is that of the “glamazon,” or the chic, modern woman of the 1970s whose style Mugler defined. In the 1980s and 1990s he led haute couture toward a new Renaissance, with provocative lines and theatrical fashion shows in fabulous locations. Sketches, videos, photos and dresses will bring Thierry Mugler’s futuristic vision to the stage. The exhibition, curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, also features a section devoted to Angel. The iconic perfume born in 1992 on the inspiration of the designer’s childhood memories. In this magnificent experience, there is no shortage of the attention Thierry has always shown towards celebrities, creating spacey outfits that have always left us speechless.

From ready-to-wear and haute couture silhouettes, to stage costumes, photographs, films and unpublished archives from 1973 to 2014, “Couturissime” showcases the universe of a visionary artist whose fame began nearly fifty years ago, in 1973. Arranged thematically, it begins with a huge multimedia display: a wall of sketches with a giant text recounting Mugler’s artistic and personal journey. This is followed by five rooms devoted to fantasy, glamour, science fiction, eroticism, and nature that bring together 130 dresses, photographs, videos, and fragrances. The opening display is a hologram of a dress: a model that the French artist created in 1985 for “La Tragédie de Macbeth,” a theatrical production of the Comédie-Française, showing Mugler’s vision of women: the engines of society. The dress, worn by Lady Macbeth, was too delicate and precious to be carried, hence the decision to bring it to life through a screen.

This is followed by a considerable series of images by the leading fashion photographers with whom he has collaborated: from David Lachapelle to Guy Bordin, from Patrice Stable to Helmut Newton, whose 23 works are on display. A photo by Paolo Roversi evokes the flamboyant livery of a butterfly suspended in flight: published in W magazine, it depicts a dress from the ’97 couture collection “Les Insects,” worn by model Audrey Marnay.

Therry Mugler’s multidimensional art also emerges from the variety of materials used: classic velvets, organza, silk, mixed with experimental elaborations of decidedly original workmanship. We find bodices covered with hair, translucent sequins reminiscent of beetles; rubber lace nets, outerwear made from tire scraps. A plexiglass, “Harley Davidson” bustier, complete with mirrors on fringed leather shorts, paired with “Budweiser” garter belt from the spring ’92 “Cowboys” collection, seems to blend industrial style into a couture ensemble. To achieve the “extreme” effects, Mugler enlisted specialized ateliers-such as that of the famous corset maker Mr. Pearl-opening the door to mainstream fashion. Another of the designer’s pioneering choices.

The tour ends in a gallery dedicated to the house’s iconic fragrances, where we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Angel perfume. The first conceived by the French couturier. Sales-for the first time in history-exceeded those of Chanel Nr5. And thanks to the use of ethyl maltol, a compound of a food sweetener, Mugler introduced a totally new category of perfumes, the so-called gourmand category.
No less important was the power-dressing of Mugler’s structured jackets and the glittering glitter decorations introduced in the 1980s, now iconic representations. He was responsible for the introduction of faux fur and the birth of unisex clothing, long before they became nouvelle vague of the fashion world. The first drag queens paraded on his runways and he was a forerunner of the concept of inclusivity.