Thierry Mugler, the French fashion icon whose groundbreaking designs were worn by celebrities including Kim Kardashian West and Lady Gaga and featured in films such as “Indecent Proposal,” died Sunday at age 73.
In a statement, the House of Mugler brand described him as a “visionary whose imagination as a couturier, perfumer and image-maker empowered people around the world to be bolder and dream bigger everyday.”
His publicist didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mugler started out as a dancer and worked for a number of French fashion houses before launching his own collection in the early 1970s. He brought a dramatic, theatrical element to his work, and his avant-garde designs dominated European runways in the 1980s and 1990s, worn by top models including Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.
Vogue Australia in 2018 described a black dress with Mugler’s signature graphic neckline — worn by Demi Moore in the blockbuster 1993 film “Indecent Proposal” — as “one of the 11 best on-screen party dresses of all time.”
He also created bold, flamboyant pieces for musical artists including Diana Ross, David Bowie and George Michael. Mugler retired in the early 2000s, although his vintage designs continued to appear at award ceremonies and in video clips in recent years, worn by musicians such as Katy Perry, Rihanna and Cardi B.
In 2009, Beyoncé wore a Harley-Davidson corset that had been designed by Mugler for an earlier George Michael video, and Lady Gaga wore a suit-dress and hat from the designer’s 1995 collection in her “Telephone” music video in 2010, Rolling Stone magazine reported.
Mugler briefly reemerged on the fashion scene in 2019 to create the infamous “wet look” dress worn by Kim Kardashian West at the Met Gala. The skintight beige latex dress — designed to appear as if she had just stepped out of the ocean — lit up social media and brought the designer a legion of new young fans.
American designer Casey Cadwallader, who became creative director of Mugler Fashion in 2018, paid tribute to him on Instagram on Sunday.
“Manfred, I am so honored to have known you and to work within your beautiful world. 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,” he wrote.