Thierry Mugler, genre-busting French fashion designer, dies at 73

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Thierry Mugler, genre-busting French fashion designer, dies at 73
Designs by French fashion designer Thierry Mugler are on display during his exhibition "Couturissime" at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, on February 26, 2019.

by Jacob Bernstein

NEW YORK, NY.- Thierry Mugler, the outrageous, genre-busting designer who dominated European runways in the late 1980s and early 1990s, died Sunday. He was 73.

His death was announced on his brand’s official Instagram. “#RIP,” it said. “We are devastated to announce the passing of Mr. Manfred Thierry Mugler on Sunday January 23rd 2022. May his soul Rest In Peace.”

Reached Sunday evening, two of his close friends confirmed his death, but declined to be interviewed, both saying they were too upset. No cause of death was given.

Mugler was one of the principle architects of a late '80s aesthetic that married S&M and high fashion. His silhouette was a kind of inverse triangle with giant shoulders and a nipped waist. He loved latex, leather and curves.

His early muses included Grace Jones and Joey Arias. He had a long-standing creative collaboration with David Bowie, and even dressed him for his wedding to Iman. His unprecious sensibility led him from couture to putting together a tremendously successful Cirque Du Soleil show in Las Vegas. Long after he went into a state of semiretirement in the early 2000s, his perfume Angel remained wildly successful.

Alexander McQueen’s punk posh sensibility owed much credit to Mugler’s work. As did Lady Gaga’s early “Bad Romance” look.

Mugler was also known to have dressed some of the biggest names in Hollywood and beyond, and made something of a comeback in 2019 by dressing Kim Kardashian for the Met Gala. The “wet dress” Mugler designed for Kardashian introduced him to millions of new fans.

His current creative director Casey Cadwallader said, “Manfred, I am so honored to have known you and to work within your beautiful world. You changed our perception of beauty, of confidence, of representation, and self empowerment. Your legacy is something I carry with me in everything I do. Thank you.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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