A Look At The Long Overdue Thierry Mugler Retrospective


The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting the very first exhibition on the work of French fashion designer and perfumer Thierry Mugler. This retrospective reveals the multiple worlds of this irrepressible artistic figure – his unique fashions, costume designs, photography and more – by looking back at over 140 pieces from his Ready-To-Wear and Haute Couture Collections.

Thierry Mugler Retrospective

Thierry Mugler Retrospective

Premiering in Montreal on March 2nd, Thierry Mugler: Couturissime brings together more than 140 garments by the designer made between 1973 and 2001, most of which are being shown for the first time. The show also contains a wealth of unpublished archival documents and sketches.

Mugler sketches spring 1992
Sketches like this one for Mugler’s spring 1992 Cowboys collection are included in the exhibit.

One hundred or so photographs by such world-renowned fashion photographers as Helmut Newton, Sarah Moon, Pierre et Gilles, David LaChapelle, Paolo Roversi, Herb Ritts, Dominique Issermann, Guy Bourdin and Richard Avedon, to name a few, round out the show. Each of the immersive galleries has been designed in collaboration with talented artist-designers and set designers, including Michel Lemieux, Philipp Fürhofer and Rodeo FX.

Thierry Mugler witches costumes
Thierry Mugler’s sketches for Witches costumes for La Tragédie de Macbeth, in Paris.

Yasmin LeBon, Attire: La Chimère collection, “La Chimère” gown, haute couture Fall/Winter 1997–1998 Photo: ©Alan Strutt
Yasmin LeBon in Thierry Mugler

Jerry Hall, Attire: Thierry Mugler, Les Insectes collection, haute couture Spring/Summer 1997. Photo: ©Dominique Issermann.
Jerry Hall thierry mugler

Jerry Hall and Thierry Mugler, Paris, 1996. Photo: ©Helmut Newton
Jerry Hall and Thierry Mugler by Helmut Newton

Model, Milan, 1997. Attire: “Soie” toi-même collection, prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 1998. Photo: Helmut Newton Foundation
designer thierry mugler

Gisele Zelauy, Cairo, 1989, Harpers & Queen. Attire: “Été Hawaii” collection, prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer, 1990. Photo: ©Patrice Stable
thierry mugler Couturissime

Emma Sjöberg during the shooting of the video for George Michael’s song “Too Funky,” Paris, 1992, directed by Thierry Mugler. Attire: Les Cowboys collection, prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 1992. Photo: ©Patrice Stable.
thierry mugler Couturissime

Le Papillon noir (Polly Fey), 1995, painted photograph, Paris. Attire: Thierry Mugler collection Noirmontartproduction. Photo: ©Pierre et Gilles
Le Papillon noir (Polly Fey)

Danie Alexander; London Sunday Times, May 1998. Attire: Thierry Mugler, Jeu de Paume collection, haute couture Spring/Summer 1998. Photo: ©David LaChapelle
daisy alexander by david lachappelle in mugler

Toni Garrn, Vogue (Germany), 2009. Attire: Thierry Mugler, ready-to-wear collection Autumn/Winter 1995-1996. Photo: ©Karl Lagerfeld
Toni Garrn in Thierry Mugler

Eva Herzigová, Paris, 1992. Attire: Thierry Mugler, The Cowboys Spring/Summer 1992 collection. Photo: ©Ellen von Unwerth
Eva Herzigová 1992

Linda Evangelista during the filming of “Too Funky” by George Michael, Paris, 1992. Photo: ©Patrice Stable
Linda Evangelista Thierry Mugler

Costumes for the Mugler Follies, 2013. Attire: Thierry Mugler. Photo: ©Christian Gautier
Mugler Follies, 2013

Attire: Thierry Mugler, Les Insectes collection, haute couture Spring/Summer 1997. Photo:© Patrice Stable.
thierry mugler tire dress

Kym, BLVD, 1994. Attire: Thierry Mugler, Longchamps ready-to-wear collection 1994. Photo:© Inez and Vinoohd
Kym in thierry mugler 1994

Johanna, Vogue (US), November 1995. Attire: Thierry Mugler, Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection 1995-1996. Photo: ©Helmut Newton
Johanna Vogue 1995 ph Helmut Newton

Revisited Lingerie, Monaco, 1998. Attire: Thierry Mugler, Lingerie Revisited collection, ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 1998-1999. Photo: ©Helmut Newton
helmut newton thierry mugler

Lady Gaga, “Telephone” (The Fame Monster album, 2010) Attire: Thierry Mugler, ready-to-wear collection, Spring/Summer 1995-1996 photo: ©Jonas Åkerlund.
Lady Gaga Telephone still

New York. Attire: Thierry Mugler, Les Infernales collection, ready-to-wear Autumn/Winter 1988-1989. Photo: ©Claude Heidemayer
Claude Heidemayer New York

Mugler continues to design innovate and memorable pieces for today’s hottest celebs like Cardi B and Kim Kardashian.

mugler venus dress
Cardi B wore Mugler’s Venus Dress to the 2019 Grammy’s
Kim Kardashian wore one of Mugler's most memorable designs, the "Wet Dress" to the 2019 Met Gala.
Kim Kardashian wore one of Mugler’s most memorable designs, the “Wet Dress” to the 2019 Met Gala.

About Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler, 1995. © Dominique Issermann
Thierry Mugler, 1995. © Dominique Issermann

Thierry Mugler has staged some of the most spectacular fashion shows of his time. He also notably created the stage costumes for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, for the Comédie-Française and Festival d’Avignon, and for Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. He has dressed myriad celebrities, including Diana Ross, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli and Quebec’s Diane Dufresne and Céline Dion. Moreover, he created the costumes for many of Mylène Farmer’s and Beyoncé’s tours and videos. As a photographer and director, he made the iconic 1990s video Too Funky by British singer George Michael (1963-2016), as well as short films starring actresses Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche.

Over the course of his career, Mugler has collaborated prolifically with renowned filmmakers, architects, photographers and artists, including Andrée Putman, for his boutiques, as well as Helmut Newton, Dominique Issermann, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts, David LaChapelle and Pierre et Gilles.

An exhibition initiated, produced and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the Clarins Group and the Maison Mugler. Curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA.

Proud partner of the exhibition tour, Dutch manufacturer Hans Boodt made 140 haute couture mannequins specially for this production. The exhibition marks the Helmut Newton Foundation’s first participation in a foreign museum’s work since its inception in Berlin in 2003.

The presentation of Thierry Mugler: Couturissime was made possible with the generous support of RBC Royal Bank, in collaboration with Hans Boodt Mannequins, Tourisme Montréal, Audi and La Presse+, official media partner. The Museum thanks Michel Phaneuf, Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy and the Consulat Général de France à Québec, proud partners of the exhibition, and recognizes the essential contribution of Air Canada, the MMFA’s Angel Circle, and media partners Bell and the Montreal Gazette.

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime

From March 2, 2019 to September 8, 2019

Purchase Thierry Mugler fragrances here.
Purchase Thierry Mugler Books here.

2022 Addendum:

On January 23rd, 2022 Thierry Mugler passed away at age 73, having made an indelible mark on fashion design. May he rest in peace.

Alfred Thierry Mugler 1948 – 2022

thanks to both the MMFA and Vogue France for the info and images