The Brooklyn Museum is set to unveil Thierry Mugler: Couturissime on November 18th in what will be the global exhibition’s United States debut. A retrospective culmination of more than 130 of the late French visionary’s haute couture designs, stage costumes, photographs, films, and unpublished archives, the exhibition spans the entirety of Manfred Thierry Mugler’s six decades of iconic innovation. It has already accumulated more than a million viewers since its 2019 debut, previously making stops in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and France.
Mugler’s work has been instantly recognizable for decades, as he quickly established himself as one of the most daring and influential designers in late-20th century fashion. He flipped popular hippie fashions of the 1960s upside-down, catapulting them forward into what became the legendary “glamazon” – a melding of “glamour” and “Amazon” that represented the chic, hypermodern woman. He was recognized and celebrated by fashion moguls around the world for his sense of provocative theatricality that used unconventional materials like glass, PVC, vinyl, and chrome for futuristic, avant-garde pieces that jump-started the renaissance of haute couture through the 1980s and ‘90s. A Mugler runway show could always be characterized by its strikingly opulent scale and inclusion of the most acclaimed and highly-sought models of its time.
The designer expanded his signature presentation beyond the runway, immortalizing it in projects that included directing and designing for George Michael’s classic video for “Too Funky” in 1992 and designing the costumes for Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity in 2003 and Beyoncé’s I Am… World Tour in 2009. He remains one of the go-to designers of today’s celebrity circuit and is responsible for some of the most well-known looks that pop culture titans like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, and Cardi B have ever worn.
“The constant innovations, inventions, and avant-garde architectural silhouettes in the work of Mugler have marked an era. His singular style found a place in the history of fashion that still has a powerful influence on today’s generation of couturiers, not only because of its designs, but also because of the strong message of inclusivity, diversity, and empowerment in his body of work. To present the exhibition I created with him in the city he lived in and loved so much is the most beautiful tribute to his legacy.” – Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator of “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime”
The exhibition is organized according to Mugler’s major inspirations, which included fantasy, glamour, science fiction, eroticism, and the natural world. It also explores the significance of photography to the designer’s fashion career – he became a prominent fashion photographer himself when he began shooting his own campaigns in the 1970s – by featuring works by artists and Mugler collaborators Lillian Bassman, Guy Bourdin, David LaChapelle, Karl Lagerfield, and more. In addition to the various sections that will display many of his pieces for the very first time, Couturissime will also dedicate a gallery entirely to fragrance in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Angel, which immediately distinguished Mugler in the world of modern perfume when he released it in 1992.
“Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” will open at the Brooklyn Museum on November 18th. The exhibition is initiated, produced, and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Maison Mugler.