When fashion was still wild ...

Big stage for a titan: The exhibition “Thierry Mugler - Couturissime” in Paris. Mademoiselle Lili reminisces.

Oh yes, the minimalism. Oh yes, the comfort. These one-for-all looks that are good from the office to going out. Basically, I agree that fashion has become more practical and more realistic.

Today, however, I watched Thierry Mugler's retrospective and started pondering. Have I become a boring philistine? We all? Do we no longer dare to live properly for all the wokeness? I encountered all the looks, pop videos, fragrances and photos of famous fashion photographers who made me dream of Paris and fashion for the first time as a child: Besides Jean-Paul Gaultier, it was above all Thierry Mugler. Both created dazzling, exalted universes, light years away from my good, little world in Germany. They infected me with a visual, subversive force that catapulted me into other spheres. My children's room was fully papered with cut-out pages from fashion magazines with Gaultier and Mugler fashion.

Thierry Mugler is simply „larger than life“. His fashion was always a boom, a spectacle, a happening, an exaggeration. He gave the image of women in fashion a new potency: His women were broad-shouldered, armored and bellicose. The femme fatale, the “glamazone” is his leitmotif. As the child of Austrian emigrants, he grew up in the post-war petty-bourgeois Alsace and dreamed of another world with Richard Wagner's operas. The defensive, armor-like silhouette that has become his trademark is heavily inspired by the heroines of the Wagner operas. At 14 he began his ballet training at the renowned Strasbourg Opera, then as a costume designer, before stirring up the Paris fashion scene in the 1970s: as early as 1979 he designed stage costumes for David Bowie.

The 90s became his decade. With his fragrance "Angel" he landed a bestseller that even hit the sales figures of Chanel No. 5 outstripped. A whole room in the exhibition is dedicated to this perfume. I smelled it all over the hip techno clubs around the world. It always smelled like it was too thick. It was a fragrance that matched the zeitgeist like no other: man and woman with angel wings, sequin dresses, silver platform boots, pink wigs and feather boas went dancing from Berlin to Paris, before drinking caipirinha in bars whose walls were wrapped in pink plush the corners of which bubbled lava lamps and shrines of saints sparkled.

At the turn of the millennium we all became sensible again. Customized. Boring. Mugler sold his brand, which had become a loss, he lives in Berlin today and simply calls himself Manfred. Through his cosmetic surgery and his inflated body, the still multicreative artist, who is active as an opera costume designer, fashion photographer, pop video director or product designer, expresses his unwillingness to embrace the zeitgeist trimmed for smooth efficiency and the new dogma of an alleged, natural beauty to bow. There is also a truth in the exaggeration, the masquerade and the fading out of reality - and a lot of lost fun.

„Thierry Mugler – Couturissime“, September 30, 2021 till April 24, 2022 at MAD Paris, www.madparis.fr