In 2011, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presented the landmark exhibition The Fashion World of Jean-Paul Gaultier – effectively illustrating how a new generation of designers had extended the influence of fashion far beyond its traditional perimeters. The show went on to tour eleven more cities, including New York, London, Paris, Melbourne and Seoul.
Another such radically brilliant designer is Strasbourg’s own Thierry Mugler, who also rocketed to stardom amidst the wild experimentation of the 80s; and like JPG, his talents were, and are, legion. So it’s hardly a surprise the MMFA would make him the focus of yet another monumental survey, Thierry Mugler: Creatures of Haute Couture, which debuted in March of this year.
Now it will make its way t0 Europe, where a reimagined edition titled Thierry Mugler: Couturissime will open at the venerable Kunsthal Rotterdam, one of the Continent’s most innovative cultural institutions.
On display will be more than 150 outfits created between 1977 and 2014, including costumes for the staging of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Comédie-Française at the Festival d’Avignon, and Cirque du Soleil’s daring Zumanity…along with never-before seen accessories and stage costumes, archival documents, sketches and videos.
“I have always been fascinated,” Mugler reveals, “by the most beautiful animal on Earth: the human being. I have used all of the tools at my disposal to sublimate this creature: fashion, shows, perfumes, photography, video…”
Most fascinating will be the exhibition’s exploration of his storied history of famous – and infamous – collaborations, including the considerable likes of David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, Andrée Putman, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton and David LaChappelle. Not to mention his “Too Funky” video for the late George Michael.
Not unlike the Gaultier show, many of the galleries – designed by artists Michel Lemieux and Philipp Fürhofer, along with special effects studio Rodeo FX – will have an immersive quality. The mannequins have been custom created by Hans Boodt Mannequins, also of Rotterdam.
The Kunsthal, it must be said, has become a leader in the staging of high-profile fashion exhibitions, having last year presented Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years. And the museum’s Director Emily Ansenk enthuses of the Mugler show, “We consider it a great honor to be able to present yet another fashion icon to the Dutch public this autumn.”
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime will be on exhibit from October 11, 2019 to March 8, 2020.