Granted, the Kunsthal Rotterdam is not just around the corner, but it’s still worth noting that the museum is dedicating an exhibition to fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler. “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime”, the name of the retrospective, is dedicated to the entire creative field of the exceptional talent: couturier, director, photographer and perfumer – hardly a creative area that was not covered by Mugler. The main focus of Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, of course, lies in fashion and haute couture, areas that revolutionized Mugler.
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime shows around 140 Mugler outfits produced between 1973 and 2001, as well as numerous accessories, theatrical costumes, videos, film clips, archives and unpublished drawings. In addition, a hundred rare works by the greatest fashion photographers and artists are presented, including Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Guy Bourdin, Jean-Paul Goude, Karl Lagerfeld, Dominique Issermann, David LaChapelle, Luigi & Iango, Alix Malka, Steven Meisel and the photographer duo Mert & Marcus. A separate room is dedicated to the collaboration between the fashion designer and photographer Helmut Newton – Newton and Mugler worked together for many years.
Many of the immersive galleries have been designed by artists such as Michel Lemieux and Philipp Fürhofer, and special effects studio Rodeo FX. London-based designer Tord Boontje has also created Swarovski crystal chandeliers for one of the galleries. The mannequins were custom-made by Hans Boodt Mannequins, Rotterdam.
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime also presents a selection of Mugler-designed costumes for “La Tragédie de Macbeth”, shown here for the first time since the production of the Comédie-Française in 1985 at the Festival d’Avignon.
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 started with a theatrical and cinematic mind-set, and I realized I could use fashion to give the same dramatic effect,” says Mugler, who began designing haute couture in 1992 after making a name for himself by conjuring cutting-edge, ready-to-wear fashion. “I created spectacles through clothes; however, I had an urge to create something special for a specific person.”
Emily Ansenk, Director at Kunsthal added: “We are very proud to be able to present yet another fashion icon to the Dutch public this autumn. The Kunsthal has established a strong tradition in programming world renowned fashion exhibitions in the Netherlands – from Jean Paul Gaultier and Peter Lindbergh to Viktor & Rolf – and we consider it a great honour to be the first venue in Europe to show this special retrospective of Thierry Mugler. We are looking forward to a renewed collaboration with Nathalie Bondil, Thierry-Maxime Loriot and all partners involved.”
The exhibition is curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
The original exhibition design and adaptation is by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, under the direction of Sandra Gagné, Head of Exhibitions Production. The exhibition’s international tour has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Hans Boodt Mannequins, Christie and Tourisme Montréal.
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime will run until September 8th, 2019, before embarking on an international tour that will include tenures at the Kunsthal Rotterdam (12. October 2019 – 8. March 2020) and at the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich (3. April – 30. August 2020).