Fashion icon Thierry Mugler who has dressed Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé dies at age 73 


Iconic French fashion designer Thierry Mugler, whose designs were worn by entertainment royalty from Kim Kardashian to Lady Gaga to Beyonce, is dead at the age of 73. 

Mugler’s official Instagram page confirmed his passing Sunday night.   

‘#RIP We are devastated to announce the passing of Mr Manfred Thierry Mugler on Sunday January 23rd 2022,’ the post read. ‘May his soul Rest In Peace.’

His cause of death is not yet known. 

Mugler – born Manfred Thierry Mugler on December 21, 1948 in Strasbaorg, France – dressed the biggest names in fashion and showbiz, even coming out of retirement in 2019 to dress Kardashian for the Met Gala.  

‘He envisioned me as this California girl stepping out of the ocean, wet, dripping,’ Kardashian said at the time. 

Mugler, who launched his eponymous fashion brand in the 1970s, has looked notably different in recent years due to multiple facial reconstruction surgeries in the wake of a car crash and gym accident.   

‘I had a facial reconstruction following a serious gym accident that completely knocked my face down,’ he told News in 24 in 2007.  ‘There came a time when I said to myself: let’s put things back in order, to go further and higher.’

Iconic French fashion designer Thierry Mugler, whose designs were warn by entertainment royalty from Kim Kardashian to Lady Gaga to Beyonce, is dead at the age of 73

Mugler (center) and members of Deee-Lite attend a fashion week party in the 1980s

Mugler (center) and members of Deee-Lite attend a fashion week party in the 1980s

Mugler, seen at the dress rehearsal of his show 'The Wyld - Not of this world' in October 2014

Mugler, seen at the dress rehearsal of his show ‘The Wyld – Not of this world’ in October 2014

Mugler, seen here in Paris in July of 1992 at a fashion show

Mugler, seen here in Paris in July of 1992 at a fashion show

Thierry Mugler (right) and Jean Paul Gaultier attend a fashion week Party at Les Bains Douches in the 1990s in Paris

Thierry Mugler (right) and Jean Paul Gaultier attend a fashion week Party at Les Bains Douches in the 1990s in Paris

Other famous names dressed by the Frenchman include everyone from icons like David Bowie, George Michael, Cindy Crawford and Sharon Stone to modern stars like Cardi B, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Bella Hadid. 

His impact continued even in the week prior to his death, as Twitter obsessed over Alexa Demie’s character Maddie seen trying on one of Mugler’s dresses in an episode that aired on January 16.  

After his retirement, Mugler worked as an artistic adviser to Beyonce, including in designing the costumes for her ‘I Am…’ world tour in support of the album that unveiled the character of Sasha Fierce.   

Mugler was also famous for his line of perfumes, which are sold to this day. His most recent fragrance, Angel Nova, was released in June 2020. 

He made his name largely in the 1980s and early 90s, with his designs used everywhere from the runway to stage shows and even music videos such as George Michael’s 1992 hit ‘Too Funky.’   

Kim Kardashian West wore Mugler as recently as the 2019 Met Gala

Kim Kardashian West wore Mugler as recently as the 2019 Met Gala

Kardashian, seen here with Mugler at the opening of an exhibition in Montreal, was part of a revival of his designs in 2019

Kardashian, seen here with Mugler at the opening of an exhibition in Montreal, was part of a revival of his designs in 2019

Mugler, seen here with supermodel Tyra Banks

Mugler, seen here with supermodel Tyra Banks

Thierry Mugler and Georges Bedran attend the Manfred Thierry Mugler Photographe exhibition at Polka Factory in 2019

Thierry Mugler and Georges Bedran attend the Manfred Thierry Mugler Photographe exhibition at Polka Factory in 2019

The designer also helped pave the way for transgender models, as Mugler used them in his stage shows as far back as 1984.    

His first perfume, Angel, released in 1992 and was said to be preferred by Hillary Clinton and Barbara Walters.    

The New York Times said Mugler, who began going as ‘Manfred’ again in the 2010s, ‘transformed his body with an extreme regimen of diet, exercise and what is apparently plastic surgery into the 240-pound spectacle of muscle and nipple and tattoo.’

He kept going with plastic surgery, especially after crashing a jeep in 2019, which destroyed his nose. 

He also had an accident at the gym which smashed his face and a motorbike accident that hurt his leg. 

Mugler even took a piece of bone from his hip and implanted it in his chin, preferring it to silicone.  

‘I wanted my face to represent progress, because after years of being a thin, charming dancer, I wanted to be a warrior,’ he said. ‘I’ve done so much in my life. I’ve fought so much. I’m a superhero, so it’s normal to have the face of one.’ 

According to Vulture, Mugler ‘was best known for his sculptural use of tailoring. He became famous internationally for his broad-shouldered, 40’s-inspired women’s suits and highly themed fashion shows.’

He retired from fashion in 2002 before his brand was set to be shut down, but remained an influence on fashion for the next two decades.

Mugler's official Instagram page confirmed his passing Sunday night. He's seen here at a 2014 dress rehearsal

Mugler’s official Instagram page confirmed his passing Sunday night. He’s seen here at a 2014 dress rehearsal

Mugler, seen here at one of his earliest shows in 1979 in Paris

Mugler, seen here at one of his earliest shows in 1979 in Paris

A star-studded tribute to Mugler featuring celebrities like Daryl Hannah (left) was held in Los Angeles in 1992

A star-studded tribute to Mugler featuring celebrities like Daryl Hannah (left) was held in Los Angeles in 1992

Mugler launched his first fashion collection, ‘Café de Paris,’ in 1973. 

One of his most famous gowns was Demi Moore’s iconic dress from the film Indecent Proposal.  

He also published multiple books – his first photography book ‘Thierry Mugler: Photographer’ in 1988, and ‘Fashion Fetish Fantasy,’ a collection of photos of his creations, in 1998. 

Outside of his photography, Mugler was also known to enjoy bodybuilding which caused a stir when he began to present with a new look in the 2010s. 

Grace Jones was among Mugler’s early muses.  

Thierry Mugler and Diana Ross at a show in 1991

Thierry Mugler and Diana Ross at a show in 1991

Eventually, he began a long collaboration with legendary rock star and fashion icon David Bowie. 

Mugler dressed Bowie for his wedding to Iman in 1992. 

A famously passionate designer, Mugler occasionally had drama with other designers. He was critical of a 2019 Dior show that used a song by Deee-Lite, a band that had recorded music specifically for a Mugler show in the 1990s. 

‘I guess it is an homage or maybe musical chairs?’ he wrote on Instagram, followed by a thinking emoji. Mugler also tagged Dior, Kim Jones, and Honey Dijon in the post. 

Mugler began to go by his original first name of Manfred in 2010s. He's seen here in 2011, when he had began to show off his interest in bodybuilding and had already gotten some of his many cosmetic surgeries

Mugler began to go by his original first name of Manfred in 2010s. He’s seen here in 2011, when he had began to show off his interest in bodybuilding and had already gotten some of his many cosmetic surgeries

One of Mugler's most famous creations is this dress, worn by Demi Moore in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal

One of Mugler’s most famous creations is this dress, worn by Demi Moore in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal

He also had a troubled relationship with Clarins, who put out his line of fragrances and more or less owned the rights to his name from 1997 onwards. He sued them over a retrospective they published. 

A New York Times profile, which highlighted his newfound interest in bodybuilding, described him as a ‘notoriously difficult designer and utterly bizarre character.’ 

The Strasbourg-born designer trained as a classical dancer from age 9, and became part of the ballet corps at 14.

In an interview, he described a very lonely adolescence due in part to his sexuality. 

‘I know what being alone is – really deeply,’ he told Vogue in 2019. ‘I had a difficult childhood and I was very alone for years and years. I was watching the stars because for me this was a new reality. There was something there, new, different more beautiful. 

He said that dance and theater and eventually fashion gave him purpose in life.

‘When I started dancing, it was an opener; it was an incredible, fantastic help because it was a magical stage,’ he added. ‘The theatre was made for me. But after the beauty of the light, the red curtain and applause – everyone had someone to wait for them backstage, but me? Never. I had years and years when I was alone.’ 

In September 2010, his brand was renamed simply Mugler and is now run by American designer Casey Cadwallader. 

‘Manfred, I am so honored to have known you and to work within your beautiful world,’ Cadwallader said in an Instagram post paying tribute to Mugler, referencing Mugler’s given first name. ‘You changed our perception of beauty, of confidence, of representation and self empowerment. Your legacy is something I carry with me in everything I do. Thank you.’

Mugler, who was very private about his age, did not appear to have married or have children at the time of his death. 

Mugler dressed George Michael (pictured right) during the pop star's 1992 music video for 'Too Funky'

Mugler dressed George Michael (pictured right) during the pop star’s 1992 music video for ‘Too Funky’

The 'Too Funky' video also featured model Linda Evangelista, a frequent collaborator with Mugler

The ‘Too Funky’ video also featured model Linda Evangelista, a frequent collaborator with Mugler

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