Thierry Mugler 穆勒:重返时尚

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Words: Suzy Menkes  Translation: Agnes G.

人们对于服装设计师总喜欢有所幻想,他应该是特立独行的,放荡不羁的,自我的,孤独的······ 大部分时候,大设计师们也只是为人聘用,过着平淡且忙碌生活的普通人,没有太过戏剧化的人生轨迹。 不过今次要说的这位设计师不同,这位风靡80年代的设计大师时隔二十年后重新回归公众视野,离开时尚圈的这些年他忙于为戏剧舞台设计服装,而他的人生也许比戏剧更戏剧。


For the first time in a decade, the designer talks to Suzy about his passion for nature, famous clients from Beyoncé to Ivana Trump, and his upcoming exhibition

这是十年来第一次,这位法国设计师向Suzy提起了他对自然的热爱,他从Beyonce到美国总统第一任妻子Ivana Trump的名人顾客们,还有即将到来的展览。


Suzy with Manfred (formerly Thierry) Mugler (right) and curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot in the designer’s archive outside Paris. Loriot’s exhibition of the designer’s work opens in March 2019 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. Photo Credit: @SUZYMENKESVOGUE

Thierry Mugler – or “Manfred” as the reclusive designer now calls himself – walks me along a row of his extraordinary creations.

“This is the famous green jacket that David Bowie wore; that’s a suit for Ivana Trump – she was one of my best clients; and this is the scarification effect for Iman, in the same colour as her skin,” Mugler says, explaining the story behind each and every outfit.

Thierry Mugler (蒂埃里·穆勒),这位隐遁已久的设计师现在称自己为“Manfred”(曼弗莱德),带领我一同回顾了他超卓的时装创作。
“这件是David Bowie穿过的绿西装外套;那件是为Ivana Trump设计的,她是我最好的客户之一;还有这件是为了Iman(索马里裔美国模特、女演员和企业家,与David Bowie在1992年结婚)所作,衣服和她肌肤的颜色融为一体”,Mugler说,解释着每套服装背后的事迹。


Ivana Trump takes a bow with Thierry Mugler (left) at the finale of the Thierry Mugler Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 1992 show Photo Credit: RINDOFF PETROFF / GETTY IMAGES

Nearly two decades after he swapped fashion for show business and rebuilt his body to alter his appearance dramatically, the first presentation of his fantastical creations is being prepared for a museum show in Montreal: “Thierry Mugler: Beyond Couture”.

The designer, who reached his supreme fashion position in the Eighties, always tilted towards performance clothes, with an enticing list of artists following his sharp, body-conscious cuts, his exceptional materials, and extraordinary accessories.

Mugler离开时尚圈已有二十年,他转战表演行业;他重塑了身形;他戏剧性地改变了容貌。而这次,他过去所有非凡创意的首秀将呈现在蒙德利尔美术馆,名为 “Thierry Mugler:Beyond Couture”。


Credit: @suzymenkesvogue

We look together at a naked figure laid out in sculpted silver garments, as if inside a coffin.

“She’s our goddess,” the designer announces, showing me other people in metallic pieces, from an openwork Victorian crinoline to a Nefertiti figure in a silvered robe.


Together with us in this anonymous storage area on the outskirts of Paris is Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Exhibition Curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA).

In 2011, Loriot launched the blockbuster exhibition of Jean Paul Gaultier that subsequently spent four years spinning across the world to 12 cities from Dallas, to Melbourne – “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk”.

Thierry is excited about his new project, which is destined to open in Montreal on the 2nd of March 2019, where it will be on show for six months before traveling to Europe and more countries around the globe (to be announced soon).

同我们一起身处这片巴黎市郊的仓库区的是Thierry-Maxime Loriot,蒙特利尔美术馆(MMFA)的策展人。
在2011年,Loriot策划了轰动性的Jean Paul Gaultier(让·保罗·高缇耶)个展——”The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk”,并在随后四年内在从达拉斯到墨尔本的全球12个城市巡展。
Thierry-Maxime Loriot对于他的新项目很兴奋,展览将在2019年的3月2日在蒙特利尔开放,为期六个月,随后将往欧洲和世界其他国家展览。


Simonetta Giarfelici wears an evening ensemble from the Thierry Mugler Ready-to-Wear Autumn/Winter 1995 “Twentieth Anniversary at the Cirque d’Hiver” collection © PATRICE STABLE / THIERRY MUGLER

“Fashion now is only sweatpants and Instagram,” the curator says, explaining how the 150 pieces are being chosen not only to show wonders of imagination and technique, but also to celebrate the exuberant energy of a pre-digital designer whose exceptional work looks fresh and relevant to today.

Manfred’s manager, Jean-Baptiste Rougeot, reveals that 9,000 pieces [“10,000 if you include accessories,” says Thierry-Maxime] are “in secret places in Provence”.

Manfred的经理人Jean-Baptiste Rougeot透露共有9000多件Manfred Thierry Mugler的设计作品“在普罗旺斯的秘密地点存放着”(“算上饰品一共有10,000件”,策展人Thierry-Maxime补充说)。

“Everything has been stored and the company is very proud of that, because many other designers’ original pieces do not exist anymore,” says the man who believes that the Mugler spirit has remained alive in the stage clothes that Manfred has created for Beyoncé and in the uber-successful fragrances for American beauty giant IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances).

As he holds up the different objects, Mugler laughs a lot. Although his face has changed almost beyond recognition and his body has beefed up several sizes, he has the same energy and enthusiasm as in the Eighties. I vividly remember his shows from that time, sitting in a theatre watching model Pat Cleveland on stage, rising upwards to the heavens; or when I crouched on the floor absorbing an extraordinary display of insects translated into clothes.

当Manfred拿起不同的设计作品向我展示时,他时常大笑着。虽然他的脸已经同当初改变了太多,他的身体也壮硕了好几倍,但他仍然和80年代时保有同样的能量和热情。我仍然生动地记得他那时的秀,坐在剧场中看着模特Pat Cleveland在台上,被升向天堂;有时我更蹲伏在台阶上,瞻仰着一场他将昆虫世界搬运到服装设计中的盛宴。


“Scarification” effects. Left: Inez and Vinoodh photograph Kym for BLVD Magazine in 1994 wearing a tribal dress from the Thierry Mugler Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 1994 “Longchamps” collection. Right: Esther Cañadas photographed by Herb Ritts for Vogue France, December/January 1998/1999 wearing a Thierry Mugler leather and horsehair jacketLEFT: INEZ AND VINOODH. RIGHT: © HERB RITTS / TRUNK ARCHIVE

“Staging was important for me, but also the most important thing is to be inspired – by fish, insects, or symbolic animals like a boar,” says the designer, who will turn 70 this December.

“Then there are objects like a motorcycle or a car,” he continues. “The idea is to find the human in there and to transform all these inspirations, but also to simplify the femininity.”



Motorcycle inspiration: A Thierry Mugler “Harley Davidson” bustier in painted Plexiglas (by Jean-Jacques Urcun) with “wing mirror” detail, worn with fringed leather shorts, and a matching “Budweiser” garter from the “Cowboys” collection, Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 1992© PATRICE STABLE / THIERRY MUGLER

Looking at the Mugler creations – the upside-down triangle silhouette of the Eighties’ suit; pleated gold lamé decoration; an animal-shaped bodice made of hair; “fur” fabricated from layers of feathers; paillettes that might have been scarabs, with their eerie translucent colours – the wonder is how relevant these clothes still seem to contemporary eyes.

The heart of the work is in the cut – so precise and certain, whether on a curving sweep of a neckline, a pleated jacket draped to the body, or the line of those rigid metallic bodices somehow melted into a curvy corset.

“And here is my way of paying homage to an Italian icon: lace,” Mugler says. “It’s all in rubber and moulded – there was no 3D- printing then.”



Mugler is renowned for his metallic effects. Left: Helena Christensen (left) wearing a silver metal strapless bra from the Thierry Mugler Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 1991 “Super Star Diana Ross” collection and shorts by Jean-Pierre Delcros. Right: Nadja Auermann wearing a gold metal bodysuit with inlaid rhinestones, gold leather, and diamanté gloves and corset by Jean-Pierre Delcros. From the Thierry Mugler Ready-to-Wear Autumn/Winter 1995 collection, “Twentieth Anniversary at the Cirque d’Hiver” LEFT: © HERB RITTS / TRUNK ARCHIVE. RIGHT: © PATRICE STABLE / THIERRY MUGLER

Thierry-Maxime will have to convince the museum audiences of today that clothes that seem so modern were designed before the digital era and before the days when a mighty waterfall of earrings would have got in the way of a smartphone.

Now enjoying phenomenal success at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam with an exhibition devoted to 25 years of Viktor & Rolf, the French-Canadian curator is an inspired choice to bring Mugler on stage in a museum show.

策展人Thierry-Maxime 需要说服博物馆观众的是,这些看起来极具摩登感的服装是在数码时代以前设计出来的,在瀑布般的巨大耳环挡住智能手机的日子之前。他早先在鹿特丹的Kunsthal 博物馆为Viktor & Rolf 策划的25周年展取得了现象级的成功,现在这位法裔加拿大策展人成为将Mugler搬到博物馆舞台的关键人物。


Detail from a Brad Branson and Fritz Kok photoshoot of Thierry Mugler for Blitz Magazine, 1990 INDÜSTRIA / BRAD BRANSON AND FRITZ KOK

Mugler’s manager, Rougeot, has kept the designer in touch with the fashion world through the unstoppable success of the IFF fragrances, starting with Angel and on to Alien and Aura.

It feels as though the clothes were designed yesterday as Mugler shows me pages of his drawings, all with an angular elegance. “Shoes of the impossible” is his description of sculpted footwear, looking like predecessors to Alexander McQueen’s fantastical shoes a quarter-century later.

Mugler的经理人Rougeot 凭借IFF香水系列连续热烈的市场反响帮助作为设计师的Mugler不与时尚界脱节,从Angel香水到Alien再到Aura。
Mugler向我展示他那一页页手绘的设计稿,优雅的棱角充满了他的设计,让人恍惚觉得那些衣服是昨天刚刚被设计出来的。“不可能的鞋子”,他这么命名他设计的一双极具雕塑感的高跟鞋,看起来像是Alexander McQueen设计的 fantastical shoes的先辈,早了四分之一个世纪。


Credit: @suzymenkesvogue Instagram

The designer was indeed ahead of his time, with his feathered extravaganzas and a belief in nature that made him create a pair of couture gloves from porcupine needles that were actually, as he describes them, “made especially fake, in plastic – my fantasy of reinventing animal skin because I never did fur. I don’t kill animals.”



Manfred Mugler in his archive with a fake-fur “mink” coat that is actually made from layer upon layer of tulle flecked with gold. A devoted nature-lover, Mugler would often replicate animal trims in his clothes and accessories rather than use the real thing THIERRY-MAXIME LORIOT

Mugler says his stand against destroying nature goes back to 1972, when he “wanted to get as close as possible to the beauty of real mink” by using “layers and layers of chiffon, embroidered with pieces of gold”.

The designer remembers another “fur” creation – “traditional haute couture dresses made of horsehair that Jerry Hall wore with her daughter Lizzy Jagger on stage”.

这位设计师还提及另一个“皮草”的创造——“那是Jerry Hall和她女儿Lizzy Jagger在舞台表演时穿着的一件传统高定裙装,我以马的鬃毛取代真皮草。”

Credit: @suzymenkesvogue

“And then there is this from the ‘Atlantes’ collection in 1989,” he continues. “Fish gills on the front of the dress. The tailoring of this fabric is really great – like a statue – it stays on your body but stands up gracefully the way we want.”

Having studied all the existing pieces, Thierry-Maxime says, “It was a revolution at the time to make things like this” and shows me an evening swimming suit from 1986.




Thierry Mugler re-imagined as a centaur by Jean-Paul Goude for Vogue France, 1998 © JEAN-PAUL GOUDE

Who is Thierry Mugler? He was born “Manfred Mugler” in Strasbourg, on the German edge of France, trained as a classical dancer from age 9, and became part of the ballet corps at 14. His first collection was in 1973, showcasing his angular power-dressing in blocks of solid color or glitter decoration, sparkling through to the Eighties. His bold styling brought him to dress Demi Moore in 1993’s Indecent Proposal and to work with George Michael on the video for “Too Funky”, although that ended in a bust-up.

Thierry Mugler是谁呢?他本名”Manfred Mugler”, 出生在斯特拉斯堡,一座位于法、德之交的城市,从9岁起就被训练成一名古典舞舞蹈演员,14时成为芭蕾团的一员。他的第一个服装设计系列始于1973年,其中展示了他充满棱角的职场装,以浓郁色块或者闪耀的装饰风靡了八十年代。Mugler大胆的风格使他得以为Demi Moore1993年的电影 Indecent Proposal 设计服装,同时也与George Michael合作影片“ Too Funky”,虽然后者最终以二人闹掰收场。


Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal, 1993. For her date with Robert Redford’s character, the tycoon John Gage, Diana Murphy (Moore) wears a dress by Thierry Mugler from the Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 1992 “Cowboys” collection PARAMOUNT PICTURES/PHOTOFEST

This madness was replaced by continuing support from the Clarins beauty group and a new role for Mugler, who moved to New York in 2002 and concentrated on costume design, some for risky cabaret.

Thierry-Maxime hopes to bring together the wide-ranging creativity of Mugler’s life and career into the exhibition.

他的常客,包括了Ivana Trump (Donald Trump的第一任妻子,模特,女企业家)。“她曾就一款西装订购了12种颜色”。虽然后来IFF叫停了烧钱的女装系列,以及2000年后Mugler的所有时尚业务。Mugler的品牌在以后的数年内又再次被多任当代设计师复兴。对于Mugler来说,这反倒是一种解脱,从1年设计10个系列,需要多达11层楼的工人投入生产的忙碌中解脱。


Manfred Mugler gives Suzy Menkes a tour of his archive outside Paris, summer 2018. Having worked as a professional ballet dancer from age 14 to 20, Mugler has always been athletic and maintains a strict exercise regime today – he turns 70 in December THIERRY-MAXIME LORIOT

“I always work with a living artist or designer, and the whole presentation is about his vision,” the curator says. “It’s about how he has translated his passions and his obsessions through clothing, ever since age 14 when he joined the Opéra national du Rhin as a ballet dancer. He toured with the company for six years as a professional dancer.”

I remember so clearly a conversation with Thierry Mugler in the Nineties, when he told me that his first fragrance, Angel, with its faceted bottle of an exploding star, came directly from his personal turmoil as a young gay man, too guilty to go to the cathedral in Strasbourg, and instead lying on a bench outside, looking up at the stars that would become a symbol of his lifelong work.


“我总是和在世的艺术家和设计师合作,一切都是为了展现他的视角”,这位策展人说到。“这次展览旨在反映Mugler如何通过服装传达他的热情和沉迷,从他14岁起加入Opéra national du Rhin作为一名芭蕾舞演员开始”。

我清楚记得和Thierry Mugler在九十年代的一场对话,他告诉我关于他的第一支香水——Angle的故事。这款香水的瓶身刻成一颗爆发的星星的形状,他说着直接来自他作为一个年轻的同性恋者时内心感到的旋涡,由于感到内疚而无法走入家乡斯特拉斯堡的天主教堂,只能躺在教堂外的长椅上仰视着天上的星星——星星成了其一生工作的象征。


Thierry (now Manfred) Mugler photographed in New York in 1995 by Dominique Issermann for Stern magazine © DOMINIQUE ISSERMANN

“I know what being alone is – really deeply,” he says now. “I had a difficult childhood and I was very alone for years and years. I was watching the stars because for me this was a new reality. There was something there, new, different more beautiful.

“When I started dancing, it was an opener; it was an incredible, fantastic help because it was a magical stage. The theatre was made for me. But after the beauty of the light, the red curtain and applause – everyone had someone to wait for them backstage, but me? Never. I had years and years when I was alone.”






Credit: @suzymenkesvogue

Turning that sorrow into luminous, imaginative, original clothing was a personal triumph. And how richly Manfred Thierry Mugler deserves to be recognised and applauded as a unique and important player on the fashion stage.

将那种悲伤化为闪耀的,充满原创性和想象力的服装无疑是一种自我征服的胜利。作为时尚舞台上一个独特且重要的角色,Manfred Thierry Mugler何等值得被认可,被欣赏。

“Thierry Mugler: Beyond Couture” opens at the MMFA on the 2nd of March 2019

“Thierry Mugler: Beyond Couture” 将于2019年3月2日在MMFA博物馆开展。

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