After shuttering the iconic fashion brand in 2003 to concentrate on Mugler's burgeoning beauty line, Thierry Mugler's inimitable style is back, by popular demand. Rosemary Rodriguez, the collection's artistic director, worked alongside Mugler for five years, and is now reinterpreting his style for a new generation.
'Mugler has been referenced by so many designers recently. You can see his influence on many international catwalks. He had such a defining style so I'm not surprised that his particular aesthetic has come around again,' says Rodriguez. 'The 'no compromise', architectural style of his designs is now very modern.
'The sharp shoulders and strong silhouettes central to the Mugler look have become increasingly popular, with labels from Balmain and Balenciaga to Margiela and McQueen showcasing the look for spring/summer 2009. 'It's a perfect time for Thierry Mugler, made famous in the 80s, to come back,' says Helen David, international fashion buyer at Harrods, where the new line is now stocked. FIXMEOP3 But while the silhouette has the same sharpness and structure of Mugler's pieces, there is a softer, more wearable edge. 'In the 80s and 90s, Mugler created this signature style that verged on caricature - it was an exaggerated female form. Today everything is about freedom of movement and the silhouette needs to consider that.' Instead of the extreme, idealised forms that inspired Mugler in the 80s, Rodriguez is determined to adapt his aesthetic for the active, busy, real modern woman.
So the design team has embraced the latest fabric innovations and production technologies to create a collection that is beautiful, and useful. As a result, the structured shoulder line has been redesigned to more contemporary proportions, while the new waist also offers greater freedom of movement. As Rodriguez says, 'When you are a designer, the most important thing is not to let the clothes overtake the woman who is wearing them. You must make the woman feel strong or poetic or glamorous, not just look it.'
This balance of strength and softness forms the basis of the new collection, exemplified by the curvaceous shape and strict pleats of the collection's stand-out piece, a deceptively simple white dress. 'It's so modern but I love it most because it is like a piece of sculpture,' says Rodriguez. 'You feel really in shape but it's really light. It's a balance of poetry and strength. The star in the middle of the body is pure Mugler. And the technology of the fabric means that you can literally throw it in a suitcase and the pleats won't go anywhere.' Perfect for the glamorous globetrotter.
While women no longer squeeze themselves into the kind of glittering metal corsets that made Mugler's name, they still appreciate his skill at sculpting bodies, as the success of the line attests. 'We have experienced an exceptional reaction to the line,' says David. 'Our customers appreciate the construction and detail of these spectacular pieces, which are classic while capturing the edginess of the moment.' Alongside cocktail dresses, the capsule collection includes classic pieces with a distinctive Mugler touch, from cocoon jackets and nipped-in blouses to elegant wide-legged trousers and a very sharp tuxedo. The adaptability and wearability of the collection is testament to Rodriguez's very modern take on Mugler's style, making everywoman her muse. 'Thierry Mugler's muse was Nadja Auermann. I don't have a specific woman in mind when I work on the collections. I can't say just one woman because there are so many that I think will look beautiful in these clothes. Today it is different. Women are not stereotypes.'