Trained as a dancer, Thierry Mugler has always had a flair for the dramatic. His futuristic fashions— sharp shouldered, highly structured, unabashedly sexy— helped define the aesthetic of the Eighties and his first scent, Angel, revolutionized the fragrance category when it launched in 1992. Since then, Mugler has moved beyond clothing, publishing books of his photography, creating costumes and characters for Cirque du Soleil and, most recently, serving as the creative adviser for Beyoncé Knowles’ I Am…Sasha Fierce world tour, which kicked off in March. Here, Mugler’s musings on modernity, passion and why there’s no one left to dress.
This story first appeared in the April 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE BEAUTY?
I define beauty as having a self-confidence in yourself, your abilities and your possibilities. The body is part of this confidence. Everyone can seek for it. Everybody can be beautiful. It is a question of will. You must find your own voice.
HOW DO YOU NURTURE YOUR MIND, BODY AND SOUL ON A DAILY BASIS?
I do a lot of bodybuilding. My mind and soul are fed through music and nature. I love to walk through the forest or any countryside and listen to the birds.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Talent and passion and persistence.
HOW DO YOU CHANNEL YOUR CREATIVITY?
Through books of art and photos and, of course, nature.
HOW HAS YOUR VISION EVOLVED SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED DESIGNING CLOTHING?
I have always been very much ahead of my time. Therefore, my vision is the one whereby the sublimated body is never old fashioned or out of date. Designing fashion is over for me now. I’m more interested in show business and creating characters around the artists. Again…it’s about the sublimation of the body.
You May Also Like
YOUR FRAGRANCE, ANGEL, HAS BECOME A CLASSIC. WHY DO YOU THINK IT RESONATES WITH CONSUMERS?
Angel is a fragrance that evokes a myth, childhood and the reminiscence of it, one in which the customer can dream and mostly relate to.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS OF FRAGRANCE CREATION?
Everything comes from a feeling, an emotion and a memory. My memories are full of experiences that I want to translate to scent. I don’t believe in creating for the sake of marketing. All of my fragrances are based on my personal emotions. I live life intensely. I see everything intensely. My fragrances are the extension of that.
YOU’VE DESIGNED FASHION SHOWS AS WELL AS STAGE SHOWS, PUBLISHED TWO BOOKS OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND DIRECTED A MUSIC VIDEO. CURRENTLY, YOU’RE A CREATIVE ADVISOR TO BEYONCÉ. WHAT’S YOUR MULTITASKING SECRET?
To be passionate, to love, to make people the most beautiful they can be.
YOUR DESIGNS HAVE ALWAYS LOOKED TO THE FUTURE. WHAT DOES MODERNITY MEAN TO YOU?
Modernity is not being “in fashion.” It’s about being yourself in the best way you can be and to allow yourself to feel sensations not dictated by others. You should never follow others, or let them infl uence you. Follow your heart.
DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR?
I do not have a mentor, but I have heroes. Many heroes. Leonardo da Vinci, Martha Graham, Ingrid Bettencourt….
DO YOU HAVE A MOTTO?
To have the courage to pursue your dreams.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR RELAXATION?
I go to the countryside or to the sun.
WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO DRESS AND WHY?
I’m no longer searching for the one to dress. My projects are now about being involved in a creative process whereby I direct, be a creative advisor and am immersed in the story from beginning to end. [Cirque du Soleil] Zumanity and the I Am…Sasha Fierce tour with Beyoncé have allowed me to do this.