Since showcasing his first-ever designs in 1973, Manfred Thierry Mugler‘s impact on fashion has been monumental, leaving ripples around the world. Here, in the Middle East, Vogue Arabia had the honor of working with the late designer on a world-exclusive project set to go down in history.
Shortly after Kim Kardashian nearly broke the internet with her jaw-dropping wet look courtesy of the French designer at the 2019 Met Gala, Vogue Arabia invited the star to once again be “Muglerized”, but this time, on the cover of our September 2019 issue. “What made me look at Kim from a different perspective was her last Met Gala red carpet appearance,” wrote Manuel Arnaut in the editor’s letter. “With a super-cinched waist and looking as if she had just come out of the water, Kim’s wet dress by Manfred Thierry Mugler was simply genius. And so I wondered, what if we ask the legendary designer to completely reinvent Kim’s image for our September cover shoot, taking the role of art director?”
And so, the iconic couturier sketched out his vision for the cover, and Kardashian was styled in his vintage archive pieces as well as three looks by Casey Cadwallader for Thierry Mugler. The result was a surreal editorial that marked a milestone in Kardashian’s style evolution and further cemented her reinvented image in the world of high fashion. “I love working with Kim. She is so cool and brilliant,” Mugler shared with Vogue Arabia at the time. On working with the magazine, he added, “I am interested in every ‘tool’ to bring beauty to the world. When Vogue Arabia proposed me to take part, I was really thrilled to have the opportunity to portray Kim in a new vision. It has been great teamwork and I am honored everyone got into my world to make it happen! I appreciate the excellent work of this young magazine. I’ve always been inspired by Arabia.”
In his editor’s letter, Arnaut continued, “When I was a teenager, Mugler – alongside Azzedine Alaïa and John Galliano – was definitely one of the designers who made me dream the most. His iconic runway shows with women looking like superheroes, his campaigns for fragrances that are still bestsellers today, and the stunning imagery he produced with models posing on the edge of the Chrysler Building, made me fall in love with fashion even more. When the designer accepted our invitation, and when we got permission to also use some of his vintage designs, I felt both excited and proud.” The cover featuring Kardashian in a never-seen-before way would go on to make headlines. “Working with @manfredthierrymugler again was a dream come true!” the star shared on Twitter. “Wearing all Mugler!!! These looks OMG! There’s no one like Manfred!”
Two years later, the magazine had the chance to step into Mugler’s art-filled universe once again, when the designer’s retrospective exhibition Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, which opened in 2019 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, was heading for the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Showcased in several acts like a classical opera, the ongoing exhibition houses the designer’s rare and unseen creations from the 1970s to 2002, including pieces worn by Kardashian on our cover. In an interview with its curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Vogue Arabia delved into the making of the exhibition, from the curation of pieces and photography to the designer’s reaction when the exhibition was unveiled. “It was the first time he had seen all his work gathered together,” shared Loriot. “It was very moving – a lifetime of creation. But don’t get me wrong, he is not nostalgic at all of his past, he’s looking forward and was thinking about how he would make these creations today and modify them.”
Below, take a look at some of the designer’s most remarkable creations from his 40-year-long career.