FMP Artist Research – Thierry Mugler

After a 1:1 with my tutor Corinne, she recommended that I look at designers who work with corsets, and another one that immediately came to mind as well as Jean Paul Gaultier is Thierry Mugler, as I have seen them work with corsets previously and they still currently do sometimes.

Thierry Mugler is a french fashion designer who founded the Mugler label in 1974, a year after he presented his first clothing line, Café de Paris. His shock-inspiring designs gained him recognition and he became a member of elite Haute Couture fashion groups. He is most known for using innovative shapes and materials, like latex, PVC, and metal for architectural and anatomical designs. According to the designer himself, he views fashion as “visual art that should be shown in a theatrical manner”. He focuses on a lot of concepts for his garments and fashion shows / collections as a whole such as insects, fairies, amazons and magicians, with the majority of his pieces being highly structured, and some even containing corsets which is what I am interested in from his work.

He has worked with and designed for numerous people, like Beyoncé and George Michael. His work and collaborations with Beyoncé are pretty iconic and it is what has informed quite a bit of my own research on the designer and his use of close fitting garments. Beyoncé quite often wears customised Thierry Mugler for things like world tours or music videos, and I personally think this is because of how well developed their relationship is now because of how often she wears his designs. In my opinion, Beyoncé frequently wears his designs because of the structured, strong nature of them and this women as ‘forces of nature’ concept is something they both share. Thierry Mugler’s gold corset from the 1995 F/W Haute Couture collection was used by Beyoncé in her 2009 video for “Sweet Dreams” and an image of this is featured above. This corset is clearly not made out of fabric, instead some kind of metal with gold included, and this adds to the structure and restrictiveness of the garment. This contrasts with Beyoncé’s view of women empowerment, which is entirely what my project is on, and I think this is why she wears them so often because it allows her views to come across, and a lot of her songs and videos are about this topic too, so the viewers can see her strength and determination come out through the clothing. Thierry Mugler designed 58 over-the-top, extravagant costumes for one of her world tours, and this shows just how popular his designs are and how the concepts behind each one influence people.

Vintage corsets and bustiers that Thierry Mugler made in the 1980s and 1990s are still for sale now, with some websites selling the classic garments for over £1000. This shows that his designs and pieces are still relevant today because his older ones are still getting sold for a lot of money, and he is working with one of the most popular performers of our generation on a regular basis. The whole concept of female empowerment and the strength of women behind Thierry Mugler’s designs and his collaboration with Beyoncé really links in with my project as a whole and will really influence me going forward as I may try to incorporate similar concepts, designs and techniques in my work.

Below are my references for this research:

Toni ♥

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