Wise Words From Fashion Designer Thierry Mugler

French fashion designer Thierry Mugler passed away at the age of 73. According to a post on the designer’s Instagram account, the designer passed away on Sunday.

The French designer was known for a wild, whimsical style of artsy fashion design, which shook up the somewhat tame, business-oriented 1980s. Taking risks was part of Mugler’s DNA, influencing the next crop of designers, from Viktor & Rolf to Jeremy Scott.

Mugler is remembered for his extravagance. He fused together elements of science fiction-like fantasy with Hollywood glam and theatrics that can only be found in old Broadway musicals. He designed what some call “space-age goddesses.”

It became his goal to take the viewer far away from reality. As Mugler once said: “The world is tough enough. There’s enough ugliness in real life, there’s no need to add to it.”

Born in Strasbourg, France in 1948, he came to change fashion in the Paris throughout the 1980s and 1990s, not only on the runway, but when celebrities wore his garments on the red carpet, from Jerry Hall to Lady Gaga and Cardi B.

Here are some of the wisest things Mugler said in interviews over the years.

  • Fashion is a movie. Every morning when you get dressed, you direct yourself.
  • Sometimes I’m asked: “What is your definition of a powerful woman?” And I say, it’s a woman who’s truly free — who enjoys herself and who’s happy.
  • I want my models to be bigger, stronger and taller than common mortals.
  • The humility to look things in the face and to make choices that are not always easy, choices that are sometimes painful and allow you to grow.
  • I never say I’m a fashion designer. I’ve always felt like a director, and the clothes I did were a direction of the every day. There are women with small waists and big shoulders, so it’s not much of an exaggeration to me. The shoulders were always important. In dance, I learned about the position of the neck, and the way you should stand.
  • I made clothes because I was looking for something that didn’t exist. I had to try to create my own world.
  • Above all, the relationship between the spirit and the body becomes clearer when you work on yourself. That’s when you understand a lot of things about life, human beings and yourself. 
  • I didn’t have a problem with my sexuality or identity. I had a problem with my family, and I had a problem with the world. I was feeling out of place, and I was feeling very miserable. I was in the ballet for six years, and no one in my family came to see me onstage; I was the ugly duckling who left the theatre alone. I guess I was too bizarre. I would watch the skies at night and look for the blue star and know that I had to hold on.
  • I think that if you work in this industry, it’s to contribute something constructive. That’s my philosophy. That’s why I don’t watch violent films. I don’t understand horror movies and all that. It’s a lack of respect for women who are murdered in real life. Those are realities. But there are also marvelous things in this world, so let’s talk a bit about the marvelous things. It’s much harder to rise above things than to wallow in them.
  • I’m very drawn to architecture and the structure of the human face, so I search for beauty of all types, regardless of geographical origin. I like to find a true example, or an extreme, for every type of beauty.
  • You know, your body has a memory and it’s connected to your spirit. If you want to use it, you have to get rid of the past. It’s just like emptying your drawers to put new stuff in them.
  • The reason I quit fashion was that I had had enough of spending time always being on my knees, making other people look amazing and fabulous. I used fashion to express myself as much as I could. But at some point, it was not enough.
  • I am not trendy. I am not ‘in fashion’. I am simply a positive human being who has a positive outlook on life.
  • A photograph must come from imagination and not be a reflection of what is.
  • I don’t know what normal even means. I think nature is endless and beautiful, so I try to occupy nature and never contradict it. Silicone, these cheap things, are ugly.
  • For me, it’s all about exploring. It’s been a very natural process. I think it’s important for people to be a complete realization of themselves. I have always been fascinated by the human body, and I wanted to pay homage to what it can do.
  • Perfume must not be linked just to fashion because that means that one day it will go out of style.
  • To create something to dream about, I need exceptional women, locations and architectures.
  • I realized I was living in my own universe with lots of assistants. I didn’t have a cell phone; I didn’t know how to use a computer. Everybody was doing everything for me. So I left and moved to New York. It was the end of an era, and I must say I found myself a bit lost. I wasn’t in the protected Mugler universe any more.
  • I have always tried to sublimate the body and to make people dream.
  • Why would anyone only want fashion? There are the costumes, but there’s also the environment, the lights, the moment. Now I’m a photographer, too, and I love music. Fashion was very easy for me, so I said, “I have the power to make big shows.” The music, the sets, the light, the attitudes—it all helped to tell my story. Something I say to young people is, “Be clear what you want to say. Make sure that people get it.
  • I had a period when I dressed like Peter Pan in tights and the same sort of shoes. I like his naivety, his ability to fly away and to be free.

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