Thierry Mugler, who has died aged 73, created outrageous and flamboyant outfits for some of the world’s biggest stars: Beyoncé, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, and Kim Kardashian, just to name a few.
In a career spanning six decades, his extravagant designs – mixing latex, leather and curves – are credited with reinventing the catwalk as a place of spectacle.
Born in Strasbourg, France, in 1948, Mugler started out working in theatre and acrobatics, and was also a professional dancer.
“It showed me that there are no limits,” he later reflected on his dancing career.
After launching his own Paris boutique in 1974, Mugler had established himself as one of the leading figures in international fashion by the 1980s.
His distinctive designs – characterised by broad shoulders and plunging necklines – matched the decade’s extravagant style.
Rejecting the label of “fashion designer”, Mugler instead called himself a director – believing fashion “had to be shown in its musical and theatrical environment”.
His catwalk shows became more and more theatrical, and featured some of the era’s biggest supermodels, including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
Among his most famous designs was the traffic-stopping motorcycle bustier created for his spring show in 1992, complete with rear-vision mirrors and handlebars.
It was introduced to a whole new generation when Beyoncé wore it as part of her album art for I Am… Sasha Fierce in 2008.
One of his greatest fans was David Bowie, who wore a Mugler dress while performing on Saturday Night Live in 1979.
Mugler later designed the black tux Bowie wore for his wedding to the model Iman in 1992.
Mugler designed the outfits for George Michael’s star-studded music video for Too Funky, which featured a host of models including Linda Evangelista.
Another of Mugler’s best-known creations was the floor-length black dress worn by actress Demi Moore in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal.
Mugler stepped back from high fashion in the 2000s, focusing on other creative projects.
But he struck a hugely successful partnership with Beyoncé, who enlisted Mugler to serve as the creative director for her 2009 I Am… world tour.
He came out of retirement to design a crystal-studded latex “wet dress” for reality star and businesswoman Kim Kardashian to wear to the Met Gala in 2019, introducing Mugler to yet another new generation of fans.
The corset under the dress was so tight, Kardashian said she could not sit down.
Mugler rarely gave interviews, but in 2019 he gave a glimpse at his creative ethos when he spoke to a US magazine.
“I think it’s important for people to be a complete realisation of themselves,” he said. “I have always been fascinated by the human body, and I wanted to pay homage to what it can do.”