The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting the very first exhibition on the work of French creator Thierry Mugler. Initiated, produced and circulated by the MMFA, this retrospective reveals the multiple worlds of this irrepressible artistic figure – at once visionary couturier, director, photographer and perfumer – by revisiting his prêt-à-porter and haute couture creations.
Premiering in Montreal, Thierry Mugler: Couturissime brings together more than 150 garments made between 1973 and 2001, most of which are being shown for the first time, as well as a wealth of unpublished archival documents and sketches. One hundred or so photographs by such world-renowned fashion photographers as Helmut Newton, Sarah Moon, Pierre et Gilles, David LaChapelle, Paolo Roversi, Herb Ritts, Dominique Issermann, Guy Bourdin and Richard Avedon, to name a few, round out the show. Each of the immersive galleries has been designed in collaboration with talented artist-designers and set designers, including Michel Lemieux, Philipp Fürhofer and Rodeo FX.
Continue your visit with the exhibition Montreal Couture, presented alongside Thierry Mugler: Couturissime and included in your admission fee.
Thierry Mugler has staged some of the most spectacular fashion shows of his time. He also notably created the stage costumes for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, for the Comédie-Française and Festival d’Avignon, and for Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. He has dressed myriad celebrities, including Diana Ross, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli and Quebec’s Diane Dufresne and Céline Dion. Moreover, he created the costumes for many of Mylène Farmer’s and Beyoncé’s tours and videos. As a photographer and director, he made the iconic 1990s video Too Funky by British singer George Michael (1963-2016), as well as short films starring actresses Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche.
Over the course of his career, Mugler has collaborated prolifically with renowned filmmakers, architects, photographers and artists, including Andrée Putman, for his boutiques, as well as Helmut Newton, Dominique Issermann, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts, David LaChapelle and Pierre et Gilles.
In a space adjoining to the exhibition, the Sewing Box offers people of all ages the opportunity to explore the fashion professions – embroidery, millinery, tailoring, lace-making, textile development, felting, leather-making, dyeing, weaving, knitting – and the origins of haute couture, in free creative workshops.
The Sewing Box was curated by Véronique Borboën, professor and scenographer at UQAM Theatre School. The scenography of the coral-coloured space was created by Catherine Nadeau and Melissa Thompson of Cirque du Soleil, Montreal.
Wednesday, March 6 | 5.30 p.m. | in French
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime
By Thierry-Maxime Loriot, exhibition curator
Wednesday, March 13 | 5.30 p.m. | in English
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime
By Thierry-Maxime Loriot, exhibition curator
Wednesday, April 3 | 5.30 p.m. | in French
L’histoire de la mode et des styles de 1850 à nos jours
By Luca Marchetti, professor, École supérieure de mode de l’ESG UQAM and author of Fashion Curating: Understanding Fashion Through the Exhibition
Wednesday, April 24 | 5.30 p.m. | in English
Mugler, Theater of Fashion
By Jeanne Beker, journalist and fashion entrepreneur
Wednesday, May 1 | 5.30 p.m. | French
L’épopée du parfum : une histoire des civilisations
By Elisabeth de Feydeau, writer, historian and perfume expert
Wednesday, May 8 | 5.30 p.m. | in French
Droit sur l’art – Le corps, le vêtement
Ce que l’art de Mugler fait au corps : subversion et pacication
By Mathieu St-Jean, professor of sociology, Cégep régional de Lanaudière
La mode et la propriété intellectuelle
By Daniel S. Drapeau, attorney and trademark agent
Wednesday, March 6 | 7.30 p.m. | OVF
Fashion ! Golden Eighties
France, Olivier Nicklaus, 2012, 54 min
Wednesday, March 13 | 7.30 p.m. | OVE
Helmut by June
France, June Newton (alias Alice Springs), 1995, 52 min.
Wednesday, March 20 | 6.30 p.m. | OVE
Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco
United States, James Crump, 2017, 95 min.
Wednesday, April 3 | 7.30 p.m. | OVF
In and Out of Fashion
France, William Klein, 1993, 90 min.
Wednesday, April 10| 6.30 p.m. | OVE
Prêt-à-porter (Ready to Wear)
United States, Robert Altman, 1994, 133 min.
Wednesday, April 17 | 6.30 p.m. | OVE
United Kingdom, Ian Bonhôte et Peter Ettedgui, 2018, 111 min.
Wednesday, April 24 | 7.30 p.m. | OVE
About Face: Supermodels Then and Now
United States, Timothy Greenﬁeld-Sanders, 2012, 75 min.
* Selected at Sundance 2012
Wednesday, May 1 | 7.30 p.m. | OVF
Paris couture (1945-1968)
France, Jean Lauritano, 2016, 55 min.
The perfect companion to the eponymous exhibition, Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is the first scholarly publication dedicated to fashion designer Thierry Mugler. The result of extensive research, this book edited by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, contains essays by Jeanne Beker, Nathalie Bondil, Marie Colmant, Matthias Harder, Jack Lang, Amélie Nothomb, Lou Stoppard, Stefano Tonchi and Shelly Verthime. It includes more 350 archival images and previously unpublished photographs by the biggest names in fashion photography, in addition to photographs by Mugler himself. It was published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Publishing Department in collaboration with Phaidon. The graphic design is by Paprika, Montreal.
The exhibition is initiated, produced and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), in collaboration with the Clarins Group and the Maison Mugler.
It was curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA. The exhibition design was overseen by Sandra Gagné, Head of Exhibitions Production, MMFA.
The presentation of Thierry Mugler: Couturissime was made possible with the generous support of RBC Royal Bank, in collaboration with Hans Boodt Mannequins, Tourisme Montréal, Audi and La Presse+, official media partner. The Museum underscores the important contribution of Michel Phaneuf, Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy, LaSalle College and the Consulat Général de France à Québec, proud partners of the exhibition, and recognizes the vital contribution of Air Canada, the MMFA’s Angel Circle, and media partners Bell and the Montreal Gazette.
The Museum extends its thanks to Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts for their ongoing support.
The Museum’s International Exhibition Program receives financial support from the Exhibition Fund of the MMFA Foundation and the Paul G. Desmarais Fund.
The Museum would also like to thank its Volunteer Guides for their abiding dedication, as well as all its members and the many individuals, corporations and foundations – in particular the Fondation de la Chenelière, directed by Michel de la Chenelière, and Arte Musica, presided over by Pierre Bourgie – for their generosity.
We further extend our gratitude to all those who, through their generous assistance, encouragement and support, made this exhibition and its scholarly publication possible.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) wishes to thank all the creators and collaborators who were involved in designing and producing the exhibition Thierry Mugler: Couturissime: Manfred Thierry Mugler and his teams, Sandrine Groslier of the Clarins Group and her teams, Michel Lemieux of Lemieux Pilon 4D Art (Montreal), Rodeo FX (Montreal), Philipp Fürhofer (Berlin), Tord Boontje (London), Swarovski (Wattens), Hans Boodt Mannequins (Rotterdam) and the Helmut Newton Foundation (Berlin). The Museum also thanks the Clarins Group for providing access to its archives and the restoration of garments.
"The team has made an adventure of some 150 garments, most of which have never been exhibited and might better be described as follies, fantasies and phantasmagoria."
Laura Jacobs, Wall Street Journal
« Le Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal frappe un grand coup. »
« Thierry Mugler a crée certaine des plus belles silhouettes des années 80-90. »
« Thierry Mugler est le grand couturier de la métamorphose. »
Louis-Philippe Ouimet, ICI Radio-Canada, Téléjournal
"In what will be a first for the designer Thierry Mugler, the Montreal Museum of Fine arts is to stage a sprawling exhibition of his multidisciplinary work."
"Most of the 130 outfists, spanning 1973 through 2001, will be shown for the first time."
Rosemary Feitelberg, WWD.com (Women’s Wear Daily) (États-Unis)
« Le créateur français qui a fait de sa mode une ode au spectaculaire est à l’honneur d’une exposition solo au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. »
Manon Guarrigues, Vogue.fr
"The first presentation of his fantastical creations is being prepared for a museum show in Montreal."
"The designer was indeed ahead of his time."
"Manfred Thierry Mugler deserves to be recognised and applauded as a unique and important player on the fashion stage."
Suzy Menkes, Vogue
"Mugler is going to be a smash."
"For fashion history buffs, this Mugler show is a mouthwatering proposition [... ] but for pop culture aficionados, it’s also an education about some high-profile celebrity dressing we’ve noticed in recent weeks."
Todd Plummer, Vogue.com (États-Unis)
"The MMFA will host the first-ever exhibit dedicated to Manfred Thierry Mugler, one of the most influential designers of the eighties and nineties."
"Many of the couture pieces took hundreds of hours to create and have rarely been seen publicly, if ever."
Philip Mak, Nuvo.com (Canada)
"[Mugler’s] couture collections were symbolic symphonies of the exotic and erotic, (hyper)futuristic and (hyper)feminine, science fiction, and sublime—a story of silhouettes, told through impossibly cinched waists, avant garde styling, and unconventional materials."
"[Thierry-Maxime] Loriot and [Nathalie] Bondil themselves are bringing a new, fresh approach to their domain, as museums increasingly open their doors to fashion—and massive acclaim."
Philip Mak, Nuvo.com (Canada)
"Thierry Mugler gets a massive exhibition."
"We will 100 % be buying a ticket."
Hope Williams, Dazeddigital.com (England)
« Cette expo inédite sera l’occasion de découvrir l’univers déjanté de l’excentrique Thierry Mugler à travers sa mode radicale et féminine à la fois. »
Manon Baeza, Konbini.com (France)
"Thierry Mugler Finally Got the Museum Retrospective He Deserves. "
"The first major exhibition of the onetime dancer who has embraced his dizzying pas de deux with fashion."
Horacio Silva, W Magazine (États-Unis)
"The catalogue for the exhibition is glossy, the line-up of exhibits impressive."
Alexander Fury, Financial Times (Angleterre)
"A world-first exhibition at the MMFA."
Jennifer Sauer, NUVO
"A considerable coup for the museum."
"He has always been an outlier whose work is provocative and unapologetically designed for women who own their sexuality and power."
Noreen Flanagan, FASHION
"He who once was master of the catwalks and guru of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé returns in full force in 2019 with what promises to be one of the year’s top exhibitions."
"[Thierry-Maxime] Loriot is considered one of the most reputable experts worldwide when it comes to establishing exhibition parameters for something as complex as fashion."
Toni Garcia, Vogue Spain
«Couturissime : tout est dans l’intitulé de l’exposition qui s’ouvre début mars au Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (MBAM). Son ampleur […] et son originalité muséale […] en font un événement. »
Adrian Forlan, L’Officiel Hommes+ (France)
"A rare glimpse into the singular designer’s fearless universe."
Constance Droganes, WWD (États-Unis)
"The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts continues to cement its name not only as a venue for an expansive collection of fine arts, but also as the organizer of meticulously-crafted exhibitions dedicated to groundbreaking fashion designers."
"The ambitious retrospective immerses viewers in the unabashedly colorful and fantastical universe of the French designer."
Osman Can Yerebakan, Cultured (États-Unis)
"A testament to female empowerment and to one’s assumption of their sexual identity without turning into a subject of male gaze."
Osman Can Yerebakan, Galerie Magazine (États-Unis)
« Un formidable déploiement consacré à Thierry Mugler. »
« Une symphonie de beauté. »
Éric Clément, La Presse+
« Un vrai spectacle. »
« Des créations qui relèvent de l'oeuvre d'art. »
« C'est vraiment une très très belle exposition. »
Evelyne Charuest, Radio-Canada Première, Gravel le matin
"The only place where folks can get close to high fashion."
"Even if your don’t know fashion, you won’t tired of this exhibition."
Christine Long, CTV News Montreal
« Thierry Mugler : Couturissime, l’éblouissante expo mode qui débute à Montréal. »
« Cette rétrospective du génie français le plus créatif, le plus libre, le plus exubérant de tous les temps s’il en est, est une pure merveille. »
Elsa Vecchi, Quebec.HuffingtonPost.ca
« Je recommande cette exposition à tous. Que vous soyez amateur d’art, de mode ou de provocation, cette expo est pour vous. »
Alexandre Turcotte, Nightlife.ca
« Une expo splendide à ne rater sous aucun prétexte! »
Isabelle Delorme, Mauditsfrancais.com
« C'est extrêmement spectaculaire. »
« L'exposition à voir. »
« C'est extraordinaire. »
« C'est un raffinement, de l'imagination, de la folie et de la démesure. »
« À Montréal on a trouvé le tour de faire la mise en scène des expositions de mode. »
"It should not be missed."
« C'est d'une grande beauté. »
"If you need a little bit more sparkles, fantasy, drama in your life, even if it’s just to dream about, you may want to head over the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for a look at the fantastical world of fashion."
Rebecca Ugolini, CBC Radio One, All in a Weekend
« S’il n’y avait qu’une seule exposition à voir à Montréal, c’est bien au Musée des beaux-arts qu’il faudrait aller pour la grande rétrospective Thierry Mugler en première mondiale. »
« C’est spectaculaire! »
« C’est éblouissant! »
Francine Grimaldi, ICI Radio-Canada Première, Samedi et rien d’autre
"Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, uncovers [Mugler] fearless, breakthrough aesthetic."
Jennifer Sauer, CR Fashion Book (É.-U.)
"The 150-look show is a symphony of couture, visual effects, and theater."
Randi Bergman, TheCut.com (É.-U.)
« Thierry Mugler, une entrée spectaculaire au Musée!»
« C’est un privilège aujourd’hui d’avoir le loisir d’en admirer tous les détails. On est surpris, je le répète, par le gigantisme de ces créations, la minutie des détails de confection, par la modernité intacte de leur facture. »
Claude Deschênes, Avenues.ca