For this photography excursion I visited the exhibition of French fashion designer Thierry Mugler, currently to see until April 18th, 2021 in the Kunsthalle München. For the first time, the work of Thierry Mugler – creator, director, photographer and perfumer par excellence – is presented in a brilliantly staged exhibition to expose his heritage couture.
This exhibition was brought to Munich from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I was impressed by the dark rooms with mirror walls and an impressive lighting concept. Photographing under low-light conditions was a perfect opportunity for my new Sony G-Master 85mm f/1.4 lens together with my Sony Alpha 7-III to show its potential. No flash, no tripod, all hand held! I used aperture priority (A) with ISO Auto.
Over 150 creations from haute couture and prêt-à-porter, unpublished archival material and pictures by world-famous photographers highlight three decades of the Frenchman’s work. Since the 70s, Mugler has succeeded in revolutionizing the world of high fashion and influencing pop culture. He was drawn to unusual materials such as metal, faux fur, vinyl and latex to produce his futuristic, glamorous designs, thereby creating epoch-making garments that radiate both a sensual as well as powerful femininity.
With tendencies toward the futuristic, Mugler experimented with avantgarde techniques and materials – including (acrylic) glass, PVC, faux fur, vinyl, latex and chrome. His broad architectural silhouettes have made their mark on the history of fashion.Borrowing from the animal kingdom, the world of myth, Hollywood glamour as well as from the universe of modern technology and architecture, he created a superhero look for the strong, modern woman.
Fem-Bots and Cyborgs
Mugler's cyborg creations and chassis-outfitted characters are forerunners of the transhuman revolution that shapes our everyday life. The designer was inspired by science fiction and comic heroines as well as by medieval armor and uniforms, industrial design, and futuristic vehicles. The design shown below pays tribute to the character of Futura in the novel Metropolis.
Cimera and Cowgirl
The images below show the chimera gown (l.) and the cowgirl dress (r.), with the mannequin presenting a big burger on her left palm.
The Motorcycle Bustier
The 1992 motorcycle bustier (below) features everything Mugler was known for: creative silhouettes, vibrant colors, campy inspiration, and theatricality. The bustier was immortalized in pop culture when it appeared in George Michael’s music video for Too Funky.
The image is an overlay of two separate images.
The Red Feather Dress
This dress is a relict from the 1995 fall campaign.
One section of the exhibition is dedicated to Mugler's creations that seem to be inspired by African tribal folklore with animal motifs.
These dresses I would not consider as very practical wear, but they remind me of some kind of inner prisoning, isolation and cruelty.
“I have always been fascinated by the most beautiful animal on earth: the human being,” said Mugler. In his view, human seduction is informed by the animal world animating his fantastical creations. Mugler’s bestiary is inspired by marine life and reptiles, insects, birds and butterflies. However, he refused to work with luxurious exotic leather or rare feathers focusing more on synthetic materials.