Thierry Mugler is so very much of the past that even with the Thierry dropped from the brand—as well as a newly designed logo (no more lightning-bolt signature), you wonder if what you’ll confront is the aggressive “glamazon” that once characterised the designer’s work when you come face to face with the clothes.
At the launch of the Mugler fragrance Angel Muse last Thursday at Manifesto, five styles of Mugler outfits from the spring/summer 2016 season were on display to the endless fascination of those who still remember what Mr Mugler once did and the indifference of those who really do not bother with brands that are not trending.
What’s really alluring to us is this two-tone navy wool-blend dress, no doubt an object of desire for the body-con brigade. If you look carefully, there are three neck/shoulder components that are adored by women for whom the concealment of shoulder and décolletage is totally aberrant to good taste. You can imagine seeing this outfit in the queue to get into 1-Altitude.
In just one dress, cut to love the body, there is the crisscross halter neck and off-shoulder sleeves that together offer cold shoulders! There’s also the bib-front bustier of the quadrilateral bodice, unexpectedly positioned beneath the halter top so that the cleavage is conspicuously blocked. To a psychiatrist, this dress may be suffering from a dissociative disorder, but to women who love to face the world radiating overt sexuality, this dress has only one personality: sex bomb.
Designer David Koma has, in some ways, kept to Thierry Mugler’s love of emphasising bust, waist, hip, and derriere, but he’s made it more in keeping with the Kardashian aesthetics. The shape of the back of the dress, for instance, is expertly controlled by clever seam work and dart placement so that the curves of the wearer’s rear side will not be down played. There’s technical savvy here that recalls Azzedine Alaïa.
Thierry Mugler’s aggressive glamour (some call it “fetishist-looking”) of the ’80s and ’90s that celebrated the hour-glass body, while not a massive commercial success, was very much lauded for its daring. In 1997, the company was sold to the French cosmetic firm Clarins, and in 2003, the fashion line was closed and discontinued before the rebirth in 2010 under the stewardship of Nicola Formichetti. The Mugler name became largely a fragrance entity.
After fashion, Mr Mugler, 67, often cited as odd—even bizarre, reinvented himself as Manfred, a Tom-of-Finland-style avatar, rippling with muscles. Rumours were circulating at one time that he has turned into a porn star, no doubt fuelled by nude photos of the by then very buffed man circulating online.
In the spring 2008 Costume Institute show Superheroes, one of his outfits, a 1992 bustier with motorcycle handle bars spread atop the bust and stretching past the shoulder enthused and aroused Beyoncé so much that she coaxed Thierry Mugler out of retirement to designed the costumes for her 2009 world tour. For some women, Mugler still offers a wet dream of a dress.
Mugler dress, price upon request, is available at Manifesto, Capitol Piazza. Photo: Zhao Xiangji