Zendaya’s robot suit and other wild Mugler looks

Mugler first broke through as a designer in the 1970s and quickly became known for his theatrical  designs. Mugler – who had wanted to be a dancer when he was young – was inspired by superheroes, goddesses, cabaret stars and cartoon characters. He loved feathers, sequins and crystals, and was known for his sculptural, architectural designs. His signature silhouette was an inverted triangle, with big, structured shoulders and a tightly cinched in waist.

He quickly established himself as the go-to designer for celebrities who wanted to command attention. It’s no surprise that Grace Jones was an early fan. In 1979, David Bowie wore a pink Mugler dress in the video to Boys Keep Swinging.

In the 1980s, his fashion shows became legendary. In 1984 he staged the first commercial fashion show, selling 6,000 tickets for his spectacle at Zénith Paris stadium. For the finale, model Pat Cleveland (then six months pregnant) descended from the sky as a Madonna in a transparent chiffon gown. In 1985, he sent models down the runway with gold plates covering their nipples (and, at one point, gave Iman a live monkey to perch on her shoulder).

Beyond fabulous

In the 1990s, his thirst for flamboyance only got greater, even when many other designers were embracing a more minimalistic look, and the grunge aesthetic was everywhere. “I don’t believe in natural fashion,” he told The New York Times.

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