Couturissime: The Mugler Connection

Alan Strutt, Yasmin Le Bon On Stage at the London Palladium, London, 1997; Evening Standard, October 31, 1997. Ensemble: Thierry Mugler, Chimera collection, haute couture fall/winter 1997-1998. Long sheath gown with scale-look body, feathers and horsehair embroidered with rhinestones, articulated golden bodice created in collaboration with Jean‑Jacques Urcun and Mr. Pearl.
Yasmin Le Bon in Mugler Fall 1997 couture. Photo © Alan Strutt. Image: Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal.

On now at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, another blockbuster curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, the force behind the museum’s 2011 Gaultier show. (A previous Mugler show wrapped at FIDM last year. For more see Suzy Menkes’ interview.) The catalogue design is by Paprika, who also designed the Gaultier catalogue.

Thierry-Maxime Loriot, ed. Thierry Mugler: Couturissime (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2019
Thierry-Maxime Loriot, ed., Thierry Mugler: Couturissime (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2019) Design: Paprika. Image: Phaidon.

Mugler himself never signed with Paris Originals, but there are still some Vogue patterns with a connection to the designer. The Dutch-born Mei Xiao Zhou (who, like Mugler, is a former ballet dancer) was hired by Laroche after six years as Mugler’s assistant in the 1990s.

Karen Mulder wears Mugler Spring 1997 couture on the cover of George magazine, February 1997. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Image: eBay.

Zhou designed two collections for Laroche in the early aughts, resulting in a handful of Vogue patterns, circa 2002. Even if the pattern envelopes downplay it, his designs for Laroche have a vampy futurism that gives them a Mugler-esque edge. For more see my post.

Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway
Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.
Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway
Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.
Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Fall 2001.
Guy Laroche advertising campaign (Mei Xiao Zhou for Laroche), Fall 2001. Image: jalougallery.com.

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