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SHAPE OF YOU: In what will be a first for the designer Thierry Mugler, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is to stage a sprawling exhibition of his multidisciplinary work.

Slated to open in February 2019, the retrospective is to highlight his ready-to-wear and haute couture creations alongside his work as a director, photographer and perfumer. Most of the 130 outfits, spanning 1973 through 2001, will be shown for the first time. “He was a ballet dancer at first. He is very interested in the exploration of the body and was unique in the way that he reshaped bodies with his fashion. In the end, he completely reshaped fashion,” curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot said of the founding designer, who changed his first name to Manfred.

His sometimes other-worldly creations have been worn by David Bowie, Diana Ross, Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli, Diane Dufresne and Celine Dion, as well as Beyoncé and Mylène Farmer for concert tours and music videos.

Like another one of Loriot’s projects, the “Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” exhibition that started an international tour at MMFA, the Mugler one will also go global. (The 12-stop Gaultier one reeled in two million visitors.)  The Clarins Group, which owns the Mugler brand, is supporting the exhibition by giving access to the archives of Maison Mugler. “I think one of my specialities is to work with living artists who everybody else fears working with. They all wait for museums and curators to propose something that would be different.” Loriot said. “It was important for him that his work would be presented as very alive. He’s very active and still very involved in the brand’s perfumes and other projects. He is not someone who has retired. He is very proud of his work but at the same time it was a question of timing.”

Loriot said his goal is to “show how timeless his work is and how important it is for history, not only in the history of fashion but also in a social context. He gave a lot of freedom to women but he also brought a lot of fabrics and materials that were not meant for fashion.”

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