NEW YORK (AP) — Wrapped in an archival cocoon cape and dragonfly-printed bodysuit, Kylie Jenner paid tribute to the late French fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler and his groundbreaking art, now on display at the Brooklyn Museum.
The traveling exhibition “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” marked its fifth stop with an opening celebration Tuesday night in New York, where Mugler lived for 15 years. The famed French designer, known for his structured corsets and dramatic shouldered jackets, died in January at the age of 73.
In an introduction by the new guard, Mugler’s new creative director Casey Cadwallader mentored the youngest adult member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan as the pair looked at the intricacies of Mugler’s superwomen’s futuristic designs. For Cadwallader, seeing the culmination of Mugler’s designs was daunting.
“It makes me understand what I have to do,” she said. “I have big boots to fill.”
The museum crowd gathered around Jenner and Cadwallader as the two applauded the 1999 Mugler sheer gown Jenner wore just a week earlier to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards.
The Metamorphosis room was filled with Mugler pieces that mimicked the natural world of insects and underwater creatures. A pale green cape was curiously missing from the models gathered in the room — until Jenner, dressed in the creation, took her place on stage alongside other insect-inspired couture. She would later undergo a metamorphosis of her own, donning a corseted gown and bejeweled headpiece for photographers on the carpet.
Guests moved from each room of the exhibit in awe of how the show married the museum’s immersive, interactive installations with Mugler’s boundary pushing ready-to-wear and couture collections. Guests posed for photos and admired mannequins dressed in Mugler classics from his “derrière décolleté” dress and “piercing dress” that raises eyebrows at its nod to dominatrix style.
In the Mugler Lab room, guests were able to savor the scents of Mugler’s perfume collection, founded in 1992, before being greeted by Mugler’s intricate “La Chimère” sheath dress in the next room. The dress — lined with scales and feathers straight out of a sci-fi fantasy world — is one of the highlights in the exhibit, with embroideries reportedly taking more than a thousand hours to make.
The house has always embraced the power of stardom: Mugler’s innovative creations have been worn by superstars the likes of David Bowie, Grace Jones and Madonna, and at the height of the 1990s supermodel moment, Mugler dubbed his “glamazon” models who embodied their prowess as they strutted down his theatrical runways.
Tuesday’s event was a continuation of that ethos. The evolution of the brand can be illustrated by tracing the power of celebrities wearing Mugler designs in the 1980s and 1990s to the influencer elite in the Brooklyn Museum. The night was a spectacle of social media stars posing for photos while sporting the brand’s spiral leggings.
Actress and it girl of the moment Julia Fox arrived at the event wearing a bolero jacket with classic Mugler shoulders and a hip-hugging skirt.
“Mugler has been such an inspiration to me forever,” she said. “It’s a great honor to be here and wear his clothes.”
The exhibition opens to the public on Friday and will run until May 7, 2023.
By BEATRICE DUPUY Associated Press