The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) presents the first exhibition on French creator Thierry Mugler. Initiated, produced and put on tour by the MMFA, this exhibition will reveal the multiple universes of this undeniably artistic figure – visionary couturier, director, photographer and perfumer – in a retrospective of his work, especially his ready-to-wear and haute couture creations.
A hundred works by the greatest contemporary fashion photographers such as Avedon, Bourdin, Goude, LaChapelle, Newton, Ritts round out the exhibition. Each of the immersive galleries has been designed with artist-designers or set designers such as Michel Lemieux and Philipp Fürhofer.
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime traces the path of an exceptional creator who revolutionized fashion with morphological and futuristic cuts, and glamorous, sculptural and elegant silhouettes; strict lines and super-heroine shoulders; and a corseted waist dressing a sublime, sensual and powerful woman in constant metamorphosis. The exhibition offers a dive into his singular imagination, to encounter by turns his perfectionism, Hollywood-style prestige, dreams, exotic creatures, eroticism, and science fiction. It will explain his audacious choices, such as using innovative materials in high fashion such as metal, fake fur, vinyl and latex.
“I have always been fascinated by the most beautiful animal on Earth: the human being. I have used all of the tools at my disposal to sublimate this creature: fashion, shows, perfumes, photography, video… I am not a person who dwells in the past, but the MMFA, through Nathalie Bondil, was the first to propose to me to stage my creations and imagine together a free, global and reinvented artistic vision. How could I refuse?” said creator Manfred Thierry Mugler.
Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the MMFA, explained: “The Museum is pursuing its major exhibitions in the world of high fashion. It a privilege to pay tribute to these contemporary artists, with them and for them, as they are rare beings in this exclusive world of haute couture. I am proud to be able to share Thierry Mugler’s masterful creations at the MMFA. Metamorphosis, super-heroines and cyborgs are already present in Mugler’s work: he perceived very early the trans-human revolutions on the way. His streamlined and elegant creatures, and dangerous and alluring women, people a universe of glamour and seduction at the frontiers of reality.”
“The work of Thierry Mugler is as distinctive as it is avant-garde. It has an architectural, hyper-feminized style that sublimates the curves of the femme fatale. This creator knows how to distinguish himself through constant innovation and audacious silhouettes that have marked an era, and found a place in the history of fashion. His singular style, a kind of futurist version of New Look with a touch of fantasy and fetishism, is still a powerful influence on today’s generation of couturiers,” added Thierry-Maxime Loriot, exhibition curator. Over the course of his career, Thierry Mugler has had many collaborations with filmmakers, architects such as Andrée Putman for his boutiques, and renowned photographers and artists, such as Helmut Newton, Dominique Issermann, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, David LaChapelle and Pierre & Gilles, many of whose works will be presented in the exhibition. Thierry Mugler: Couturissime marks the Helmut Newton
Foundation’s first participation, since its inauguration in Berlin in 2013, as a lender to an exhibition designed by a foreign museum.
As a photographer and filmmaker, he directed the emblematic 1990s video “Too Funky” by British singer George Michael, as well as short films starring actresses Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche. Thierry Mugler has staged some of the most spectacular fashion shows of his time. He created the costumes for the staging of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Comédie-Francaise and the Festival d’Avignon, and the Zumanity show by the Cirque du Soleil. He has dressed a galaxy of stars, such as Diana Ross, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli and, in Quebec, Diane Dufresne and Céline Dion. He has also created costumes for Mylène Farmer and Beyoncé for their tours and videos.
Opening Image:Christian Gautier, stage costumes for the show Mugler Follies, 2013. Photo: Christian Gautier / © Manfred Mugler. Outfits: Thierry Mugler.