Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thierry Mugler

It began, i'm almost certain, with a tag-along trip with my mother to her beauty salon one afternoon when i was young. In order to paint the most honest image of myself, i won't blithely say i was bored, as i usually carried with me a stack of books or comics, but i must confess that the overflowing piles of beauty magazines attracted my eye. I picked out a handful, and scooted my little tush onto the over-stuffed couch in the lobby of the salon. All around me, females of all ages, shapes and colorations were yielding to the expertise of the scissor-wielding maestros and their visions of enhancement. I flipped through the colorful periodicals, consuming every picture (which is a considerable task when you consider that the ratio of photo to print is astonishingly high for these magazines), enjoying the parade of beautiful vixens. I couldn't help but feel entranced by the hundred different displays of cosmetic-dazzled faces, high-fashion footwear and elaborate hairstyles. I wasn't too far into my exploration before i encountered the face that would dominate my mind for years following.

The face belonged to Cindy Crawford.

That one image launched a 5-year long hobby of mine that had me scouring every monthly beauty rag out there for shots of my Cindy. In that span of time, i accumulated four 3-ring binders of pictures of her. I used to sneak into book stores and quickly flip through their magazines in hopes of scoring me yet another photospread, where i would brandish the Exact-O knife i carried in my pocket to quickly extract the goods. I'm not sure what aim i was attempting to accomplish collecting all these images. I guess i'd made a claim on Ms. Crawford (i even set to memory every biographical piece of information i could about her), and felt the closest i would come to possessing her was through these binders.

Over time, the habit of scouring these advertisement-laden publications for Crawford kibble fluttered away. But what remained in its place was an appreciation for and attachment to the inner workings of the fashion industry. In these few years, i mentally catalogued every model, every designer and nearly every trend each fashion house put forth. In doing so, i was trying to explore the possibilities of robing the female body, accentuating its beauty, exciting the imagination through the adornment of the feminine curves. I appreciated the slender yet graceful approach to apparel the folks at Dior had. In the hands of Chanel, the female body had strength, wisdom and prowess. I didn't care for the syrupy style of Dolce and Gabbana, nor the fiery flare of Versace. However, all of these centres du mode came off as middlingly pedestrian when i first encountered the diabolically fetishistic styling of Thierry Mugler.

Monsieur Mugler's appreciation and utilization of PVC, latex and corsets in his haute couture shows might've been enough to make him the singular favorite of mine, but as i grew accustomed to his dark, bent aesthetic, it was then that i discovered his most profound creations that seared his imaginative work to my psyche.

As the photo above illustrates, Mugler, who burst onto the fashion scene in the mid 80's staying until his last show in the year 2000, replaced the typical en vogue wardrobe with his warped, twisted visions of the evolution and metamorphosis of the female creature. Literally. He took the sleek waspy lines formed by a tightly laced corset, and fashioned an alien bird creature with brilliant colorful plumage that surrounded an insect-like abdomen. Even her makeup expressed supra-human qualities. I remember my first peek at this ornithic humanoid, and the way she stood engrossed in the transformation of her body into a sleek, sexual creature, the way she leered out at the worthless homo sapiens in the audience penetrated me with such gross sexual urges.

Thierry Mugler explored this were-creature exercise multiple times throughout his brilliant but short career.

Seeing this unabashed expression of the erotic qualities of transforming the female into another being, a different vessel, on such a public and revered stage allowed my young mind, which was grappling with my own intense desires to manipulate and convert the girls in my immediate vicinity, to relax in what i felt was camaraderie with a Frenchman i would never have the chance to meet.

The more research i did into Mugler's work, the more objectification and metamorphosis i encountered, and strangely, it was the fashion world (not exactly the bastion of machismo for most straight men) that gave me the bolt of confidence to explore and demand the specific sexual nuances i still insist on to this day.

In these female robot images, the aspect that stimulated me most was the idea of a proto-typical girl submitting to the conversion from human to part machine. She wanted her dynamic sexual fire to be preserved and amalgamated in a metallic suit, letting the rigidity of her existence as part machine alter and shape her behavior and movement. I've never found robots manufactured to look like females enticing, but rather the notion of a normal girl submitting (either forced or consensual - it didn't matter in my fantasies) to the mad scientist's designs that altered her body permanently, especially her mind, has for the longest time chimed my erotic bells.

I offer the reader these final two videos that show first the robot-girl, removing her human clothing, strutting around in her awkward, newly acquired metallic exterior, then followed by the bird-creature that stares into the audience (found approximately at the 2:16 point of the video), looking for it's first victim since its recent conversion into an aviary predator. Listen to the change in music, even Mugler acknowledges the psychotic statement he makes with this feminine beast, darkening the tone and the mood appropriately. I am so deeply grateful for this one man's contribution to my sexuality, it's hard for me to realize how fortunate i was to encounter his articulation when i did.


Dahlia Rose said...

The robot woman looks to me like a windup ballerina with her delicate and careful walk and her shiny metal skin. It's an enchanting effect.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite lost loves!
While Gautier is also good at form…Mugler IS REALLY SOMETHING!!!
While you were admiring his transformations, I was also, and trying to figure out his craft.
How did he accomplish those wearable works of art that so resemble armor & exoskeletons?

I believe the George Michael video, “Too Funky”, showcases all Mugler pieces, including “The Motorcycle Girl”.
He would be an interesting person to meet. –And it could still happen, somehow…He’s still living, breathing, & working.

You might enjoy these, if you have not already seen them:


Thursday's Child said...

Oh, I think this post has endeared you to me forever. I adore Mugler. When I was a silly girl in high school, I was obsessed with haute couture, read W religiously, and followed Andre Leon Talley more closely than the ten o clock news. This brought back such lovely memories!

And better-off-red, while I love Gaultier, Mugler is a visionary in a class unto himself!

Anonymous said...

"And better-off-red, while I love Gaultier, Mugler is a visionary in a class unto himself!"

Thursday's Child, I echo your sentiments, and I do not disagree. :-)

Deity said...

ms. rose,
isn't it incredible how the costume seems to almost dictate what character she should play? makes me like Mugler even more.

thank you for your comment and the links. i had come across most of them in my research for images. the bird creature was the hardest one to find. i can appreciate Gaultier, but i lean more towards Mugler's avid fetishism.

i certainly don't mind being endeared for eternity. i'm only glad that it took someone like Thierry to set this in motion.