Thierry Mugler's Famous Retrospective Exhibit Is Finally Coming to America

Thierry Mugler's Famous Retrospective Exhibit Is Finally Coming to America

by Alexandra Hildreth

Thierry Mugler has been a fashion icon long before TikTok moodboards ever existed. The designer’s legacy is marked by his dramatic catwalks filled with otherworldly designs that empowered his women, all of which has been documented in Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, his famous traveling exhibit that has been displayed in places like Canada and Paris.

And this fall, the Brooklyn Museum is presenting the American debut of that iconic exhibition, which includes almost 130 designs, costumes, films, campaigns and previously unpublished archives.

The exhibit is organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and has been adapted for the Brooklyn Museum by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator of the exhibition, and Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum. The show, which originally opened in 2019, will conclude after its run in the Brooklyn Museum.

Couturissime’s American debut comes after the designer’s death in January of this year. Mugler rose to fame in the '80s and '90s AND was known for his “glamazon” and “fembot” women who brought his groundbreaking, and often controversial, designs to life.

His most iconic runway shows often included transforming a women’s body into different species or machines through latex, metal, plastic, and leather. To this day, his Fall 1995 collection, which featured a Shalom Harlow cyborg, remains one of his most celebrated collections. “The constant innovations, inventions, and avant-garde architectural silhouettes in the work of Mugler have marked an era,” Loriot says.

Mugler did not limit his artwork to just the catwalk. The designer also combined his love for theater and film in his costume design for George Michael’s music video “Too Funky”, Cirque du Soleil Zumanity and Beyoncé’s acclaimed world tour I Am . . . (2009). Today his designs past and present continue to wow on the red carpets. Megastars like Cardi B have pulled from his archives (also Fall 1995) for her Mother of Pearl Grammy’s look while Kim Kardashian wore a custom original designed “wet” latex dress, for which Mugler came out of retirement, to the Met Gala in 2019.

“Building on the Brooklyn Museum’s history of celebrating the trailblazing French couturiers Jean Paul Gaultier in 2013, Pierre Cardin in 2019, and Christian Dior in 2021, we’re thrilled for our audiences to experience Thierry Mugler: Couturissime,” says Yokobosky. The Exhibition will run from November 18 2022 to May 7 2023.

Photo courtesy of Alan Strutt