I have been noticing, on my way to work, for a few weeks now, several intriguing posters promoting a new upcoming show, the Mugler Follies. I kept wandering whether this had anything to do with the iconic 1980s’ designer, Thierry Mugler, even though the poster does deliver a few clues with its familiar aesthetic.
I, therefore, decided to take a closer look at this spectacle. And, indeed, Manfred Thierry Mugler (as he now presents himself) has decided to make a festive comeback alongside the announcement, he is to become, once again, the creative director of his own brand. The Mugler Follies is a long-time dream coming true for the multidisciplinary artist who aims to revisit the cabaret show by combining eroticism, technology and glamour with numerous performers including an iconic 1970s French queer heroine, Marie-France.
Manfred T. Mugler has always loved the spectacular, staging the most astounding fashion shows in the 1980s, promoting a new way of presenting collections on catwalks. With the designer, the fashion SHOW took all its sense to reach its peak in 1984 when Thierry Mugler enabled the public to buy tickets for his presentation, just as it would do for a rock concert. People were invited to discover a dramatic ‘mise-en-scène’ with mannequins enhanced and transformed by surreal costumes. His creations were indeed also full of imagination with his half animal or insect/ half women wearing dreamlike futuristic and hyper feminine and sexy, almost bizarre, outfits that tended to resemble stage costumes. He therefore blurred the lines between costume and fashion, stage and reality.
His love for the stage was also developed within various collaborations with the Cirque du Soleil or, more recently, Beyonce’s world tour. This theatrical passion may be explained by the designer’s career, starting at the age of nine as a member the Rhine’s Opera Ballets before studying interior design. The man knows the stage and knows how to highlight spatial environments.
Multi-tasked fashion designers has become a trivial concept. As artists, they tend to put their hands on various disciplines, when you come to create garments and imagine shows and ads, why can’t you draw furniture or stage a theatrical show? It’s all about creativity, no? Manfred T. Mugler has always done so: from couture to photography and stage creative direction.
Fashion designers and stage have been closely linked for decades and I have already written, here, about the intimate relationship ballet and fashion have elaborated since the beginning of the 20th century. However, there is something new in imagining one’s very own variety show. Even though he doesn’t act in his cabaret (Isaac Mizrahi did a successful one-man show, in January 2013), Manfred T. Mugler clearly proposes a personal tribute to his creations with his Mugler Follies that draw on his ‘Hollywood glamour meets sci-fi’ aesthetic and costumes. The fashion designer had been absent for a few years and will, therefore find, with his production, a new way of acknowledging his fashion fans as well as new spectators, cabaret lovers.
To be honest, I am not quite sure I’ll attend the show as I am not a huge cabaret lover but I’m very curious to discover more about it (it opens on the 10th December.) What kind of public will attend it? What about the costumes for real?
What do you think of this venturing outside the standard boarders of fashion design? And what about a designer who, in a certain way, honours himself?
You can find full information about the show on its dedicated website: http://muglerfollies.com/