Manfred Thierry Mugler

Late Sunday night, the fashion industry said farewell to the great and influential designer, Manfred Thierry Mugler. Although Mugler stepped away from fashion as a designer in 2002, he remained a coveted figure and a force of the fashion industry—continuously inspiring new generations of designers, artists, and creatives to explore their most authentic art form. Mugler explored the femme fatale through otherworldly motifs from motorcycle to robot silhouettes while at the same time showing appreciation to the woman form. 

His influence on pop culture stems from dressing David Bowie for the Tin Machine song “You Belong in Rock’ n’ Roll” and Demi Moore in her Mugler LBD in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal to modern times, coming out of retirement to create custom tour looks for Beyonce, viral red carpet for Cardi B, and the oh-so memorable dripping latex look Kim Kardashian wore to the 2019 Met Gala.

The fashion industry will forever note Manfred Thierry Mugler’s mark through his ability to transform fashion into a fantastical realm, the immeasurable talent that he inspired, and most importantly, his kindness. Ahead, 11 creatives across various industries reflect on how Mugler has inspired them and their artistry.

Jeremy Mcclain, Actor

“Mugler inspired me as a creative because he made you dream like no-one else could. He was singular.

The worlds he created were beyond anything you could possibly fathom and he put them right in front of you–bright, bold and in your face. He was fearless in his fantasy.

He’s always been a beacon for the LGBTQ community, creating looks that empower and embolden you. He made beautiful, strong armor to go out and take on the world. In one of our first scenes we filmed in Pose, Elektra was wearing this amazing Mugler power suit that was just…formidable. She was yelling at us in this scene and, with that suit on, you really felt it. That’s what Mugler could do for you. He invented “that girl”.

His influence transcends time and we’ll never have another like him.”

Christian Cowan, Designer

“I think for everyone, but especially queer kids and teens, Mugler’s pieces provided inspiration and escapism that you too can one day go create your own world. His fashion was a world unto itself, free of any real world issues. A true fashion fantasy.”

Arturo Obegero, Designer 

“Thierry Mugler was truly an artist and a performer himself. He was a designer’s designer. Unique. You can immediately identify a Thierry Mugler piece when you see it, and that’s one of the most important things as a creator. In a more personal level, I can say that probably without him and the fantasy he brought to the industry, I wouldn’t have become a designer myself. A genius whose legacy will always be remembered.”

Louis Pisano , Vogue France Contributor

“Manfred Thierry Mugler inspired me as a creative to live my fantasy, to construct my own world on my own terms, the first time I saw a Thierry Mugler show on FashionTv I was instantly drawn to how outrageous and camp it was and how his vision of fashion really spoke to me as someone who really loves spectacle and I always strive to put that energy in whatever I do.”

Martin Gregory Jerez, Stylist and Casting Director

“Manfred Thierry Mugler, the designer himself and his extremely elaborate creations, are truly direct inspirations in my day-to-day work as a stylist as well as my own personal style. I absolutely loved the cuts and shapes that Mugler incorporated in a lot of his designs. Honestly, I still get overjoyed when I spy a vintage women’s piece of his at any store. The attention to detail and shape is astounding. His shows were an absolute fantasy to watch back – one of my fashion wishes is definitely to travel back in time and actually FEEL what a show like that would give.

Luckily we have some muses in NYC ( like the amazing Connie Fleming) who can recount these memories to us and make us feel a little bit closer to genius. I was lucky enough to find a vintage Thierry Mugler mens suit at Eons in Pittsburgh and it remains one of my favorite suits. Not to mention, his own personal style is a constant inspiration for me – his inclusion of all things black and leather holds a special place in my inspiration cloud. It’s a shame to lose such a bright light but he will continue to inspire the fashion and art industry forever.”

Guillaume Thomas, Photographer and Director

“I have been inspired by his vision of life as a stage, his ethereal quest, turning the common into extraordinary. He was a dreamer sharing his inner world, inhabited by creatures larger than life, with sharp and immediately recognizable silhouettes. Otherworldly, graphic and strong, his visuals are a whiplash leaving you Muglerized.”

CT Hedden, Nightlife Personality

“Mugler inspired me in so many ways. There’s a fashion quote of his somewhere about how “dressing is like a movie.” I apply that every time I create looks. What vibe I want to give, what type of movie it will be, horror , sci-fi, or even romantic comedies. He pushed the boundaries before there were even boundaries which are extraordinary if you think about it. He will continue to inspire me and countless other creatives all over the universe for countless generations. I was so honored to attend his recent retrospective opening night event in Paris during fashion week and met so many legendary people, and be in the same room with Mr. Mugler.”

Patrick Church, Artist and Designer

“Mugler’s expression of femininity, not just sexuality, but feminine power has deeply shaped my understanding of what it can be. There is a sense of humor and independence within his work that I relate to, as a painter I see the fantasy and the expressiveness far beyond any designer.”

Cyrus Veyssi, Multi-Media Creator

“I remember seeing my first Mugler garment – Fall/Winter 1990 show featuring a gorgeous look worn by the iconic Cindy Crawford – not knowing how profoundly important his impact would be on a young queer/non-binary person such as myself. He inspired me to pursue my fantasies and explore femininity unapologetically. He seemed like such a kind soul, someone who not only defied the industry’s couture standards, but created a more inclusive version of his own.”

Bach Mai, Designer

“Thierry Mugler had such a strongly defined and unique creative universe, and he was really able to use his mastery of the art of haute couture to express his creative universe to the world.”

Matthew Mazur, Stylist and Sound Designer

“Ever since I could remember looking at fashion images there were certain designers, photographers, stylists, and artists that have shaped who I am and what I do today. Manfred Thierry Mugler was one of them. Mugler was someone who completely changed the way women dressed, and refocused the attention on the female figure in a way where it was celebrated for being dominant, strong, and powerful. This is how I look and celebrate women, all women. Mugler inspired me by his community he cultivated ; was one of the few visionaries that combined every type of person in one space, Porn Stars, Super Models, Hollywood Elite, TransWomen, Drag Queens, and it was not taboo (to him anyway). This can all be seen as somewhat fairly normal to us today in terms of inclusivity but still, in fashion where few people are daredevils enough to do what he did, he inspired me to stay true to being authentic and be inspired and uplift who you are actually drawn to, not by what a certain system tells you is socially acceptable. That is what someone who is groundbreaking does, which is why this loss is a huge one-but his legacy and who he has inspired has, will live on forever. “