In Montreal, an exhibition laid out as an opera in six acts reveals the multiple worlds of fashion designer Thierry Mugler. With this retrospective “Couturissime”, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is interested in the fashion, the perfume and the famous stagings of the French couturier, but also in photography. That of Mugler, who said at the press conference “born to be a photographer” and of course that of great masters of photography who have sublimated his work, especially Helmut Newton with whom the designer has collaborated a lot.
Francine Crescent, editor-in-chief of Vogue from 1968 to 1987, propelled Mugler’s career and gave carte blanche to two fashion photographers who did upset the codes of the time: Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin. Females dominatrix in the double pages of the magazine.
In 1976, Mugler asked Newton to carry out an advertising campaign, and intervened so much during the shooting that the photographer sent him a message: “If you are so sure of what you want, why don’t you do it yourself”? The couturier joined the game and, while collaborating with the photographer for over twenty years, made his own visual campaigns setting up his muses in extreme, dizzying places, like the eagles on top of the Chrysler Building in NY or the roof of the Opera House in Paris.
A room of the exhibition is dedicated to the collaboration between the two men. “He was a real genius!” Commented Manfred Thierry Mugler at the press conference. He created his own world, his unique way of creating images (…). He was also kind enough to give me his opinion of my work as a photographer! ”
With its anatomical cuts, architectural silhouettes, innovative materials, the Mugler woman is a working girl, a conqueror not without humor. Her seduction refers to the animal world, which inspires the designer fantastic creations. He also imagines aerodynamic and robotic silhouettes. These iconic creatures were immortalized in photography by Paolo Roversi, Helmut Newton, Karl Lagerfeld or Herb Ritts.
Next to the 150 outfits on display, the museum presents some one hundred rare prints of great artists and fashion photographers, among which, in addition to those already mentioned, are Jean-Paul Goude, Dominique Issermann, David LaChapelle and Ellen Von Unwerth. Max Abadian, Lillian Bassman, Luigi & Lango, Alix Malka, Steven Meisel, Mert & Marcus, Sarah Moon and Pierre & Gilles.
After Montreal, the exhibition will be presented at the Kunsthal Rotterdam from October 12, 2019 to March 8, 2020 and at the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstifung in Munich, from April 3 to August 30, 2020, before continuing on a world tour.
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime
March 2 to September 8, 2019
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC H3G 1J5, Canada