Wow, I can’t believe I have yet to write about this man whose styling has given Beyonce her futuristic and now trademark look. You see, I love Beyonce, so I absolutely love any designer that blesses her with costumes that would define her Sasha Fierce (and sometimes Beyonce) persona.

But honestly, have you ever seen a picture of this guy? I know I never have and when I was doing my research I nearly choked on my water. What designer do you know makes these kind of costumes ……

And looks like this…..

In his case, we definitely can not judge a book by its cover. But what we can judge Thierry by is his work, which is unique and truly artistic. Personally, when I look at his sketches and his designs I think of Picasso and his cubist (is that a word) paintings. His designs also add in a mixture of robotic characteristics, which in some circumstances could be unflattering for women, but Thierry knows what he is doing. He was so far ahead of his time when he began that not many could actually appreciate some of his best known work. His designs are what people in the 80’s might have believed we would all be wearing in this time of 2009. Heck, I can’t understand why we aren’t all wearing his designs already on a daily basis.

Let’s dig deeper into the life of this unsuspecting designer.

Born in 1948 in Strasbourg, France, Thierry Mugler had an inkling for fashion design all his life. Like Walter Baker, he started off on a different career path , but Theirry’s was a little more unconventional. He trained in ballet while studying design and making clothing for his friends. He attended Lycée Fustel de Coulange, 1960-65, and the School of Fine Arts, Strasbourg, 1966-67.

He also designed on the side while he was a window designer in Paris in 1970. His first lime Cafe de Paris was not made until 1973. He made a woman’s line in 1975, and a men’s line in 1978. His runway garments were really extreme and exaggerated. Unfortunately , his fashion house did not last through the 90’s. And in 2003 his couture collection was shut down.

Before his line was closed he managed to, in 1985, create the costumes for the musical “Emilie Jolie”. He designed clothing that was hip with the times, bat winged shirts and lots of Lycra.

In 1998 he managed to be one of the few French designers to own his own factory and he was the first designer to create a virtual fashion show for the Internet.

He didn’t let the collapse of his fashion line stop his creative genes. He went into business with a skincare company called Clarins to make fragrances, which Mugler’s company is best known for today. Sometimes he even outsells Chanel No. 5 in France, how unimaginable is that? But honestly, I am def. sure all his money comes from perfume. Check out this list of fragrances( and I am not even sure it’s the whole thing):

Angel 1992 Women The first oriental gourmand fragrance[vague]; the #1 perfume in France and the #8 perfume in the US (according to NPD Research[vague])
A*Men 1996 Men Known as “Angel Men” in US/Canada and Middle East due to trademark issues
Innocent 1998 Women Known as “Angel Innocent” until 2004
Mugler Cologne 2001 Unisex Inspired by a soap; contains proprietary “S-molecule”[vague]
B*Men 2004 Men Currently[vague] being phased out of retail distribution
Angel Garden of Stars 2005-06 Women Floral versions of Angel (peony, violet, lily, and rose)
Alien 2005 Women First new Mugler women’s fragrance not based on the Angel concept; modeled by Tina Baltzer
A*Men Summer Flash 2006 Men Men’s fragrance based on A*Men
Mugler Cologne Summer Flash 2006 Unisex Adds a cooling ingredient to Mugler Cologne
Innocent Summer Flash 2006 Women Women’s fragrance based on Innocent
Innocent Secret 2006 Women Made for Victoria’s Secret stores
Perfume: The Coffret 2006 Unisex Movie tie-in to Perfume: The Story of a Murderer; consists of 15 fragrances; price $700 US
ICE*Men 2007 Men Faced by Greg Plitt; launched worldwide in April 2007 (March 2008 in US)
Eau de Star 2007 Women Launched worldwide in April 2007 (October 2007 in US)
Miror Miror! 2007 Women A line of five women’s fragrances; limited distribution and priced higher than other Mugler products
Innocent Illusion 2008 Women A flanker of Innocent
A*Men Pure Coffee 2008 Men Flanker to A*Men with Arabica Coffee note
Angel Sunessence 2009 Women Summer light version of Angel
Alien Sunessence 2009 Women Summer light version of Alien

With his fragrance market success, he reopened his couture line in 2008, spear headed by Rosemary Rodriguez, even adding some eye glasses to his portfolio.

Outside of the consumer market, he has signed up with Cirque du Soleil in 2003 for its show “Zumanity” which is Cirque’s first show for an adult audience. Good, don’t let all those muscles go to waste !

He also published two books on his designs Thierry Mugler (1988) and Fashion Fetish Fantasy (1998).
, inspired by Stalinist propaganda ( hmm). He directed a video in 1992 for George Michael’s Too Funky featuring Mugler’s famous motorcycle dress.

Let’s talk about his biggest venture here in the US– collaborating with Beyonce to do all her costumes for the multi-million dollar I AM.. Tour. Beyonce chose him after viewing his designs in the Metropolitan Museum for the Art’s Costume Institute Superheroes exhibit in May of 2008. ( Hmm I wonder if that inspired some of the songs on her album) Mugler will make 58 pieces for Beyonce, her dancers, and her band. However, he won’t contribute all of her looks, she has to save room for her Dereon Line. He will serve as the creative advisor of the tour, designing some lighting and even choreography for her shows. Additionally he will direct three portions of the production, Dangerously in Love, Ave Maria, and The Finale. ( Let me just add, those were the best parts of the show, loved it! )

Thankfully, Mugler’s fashion house has revived itself and come back in full effect. We can see his influences in many other designers line Balenciaga, Dolce and Gabbana and McQueen. However no one has managed to come close to his style. He is the only designer I know that can make an outfit which needs no one accessory. Not a hat, not an earring, not a bracelet, nothing. No wonder during the Beyonce concert all her jewelery was flying off, her Thierry Mugler outfits were simply rejecting them.

Thierry has done everything from design, dancing, photography, publishing, and made fragrances. He hasn’t let anything stand in the line of his desires and dreams. We all need to take note from him, because even though his line did fail at one point it came back stronger than ever. Additionally, he didn’t quit on life after that set back, but he moved on and kept the creative juices flowing. In recognition of his hard work and dedication Thierry Mugler was invited to sit on the Comite Colbert; thereby joining the top 75 French companies that share the passion for excellence, creativity, and luxury in the production of their merchandise.

However, his contributions to the fashion world have been amazing and untouchable. He has worked with the idea of shaping a perfect woman, not perfecting the shape of a woman, which is very different. His designs are well engineered and structured making them look anything but cheap or affordable. His strong, bold, and non conforming designs are unmatched in the industry today. Have you ever heard of a Thierry Mugler look a like/knock off? Yeah, me neither.

So Thierry, thanks for staying strong through all your struggles and obstacles. You have taught me that no matter how many things go wrong, so much more can go right if you stay focused. You also have earned my highest praise for your work on Beyonce’s wardrobe and concert. You have totally revamped her look and her appeal and frankly I love it. You’re the modern day Picasso if he designed clothing and I wouldn’t want you in any other way.

p.s. How about coming out with a work out tape… I could def use some of your muscles!

One of my absolute favorite designers is the late Yves Saint Laurent. His legacy still lives on today after his death on June 1, 2008 at the age of 71. As one of the greatest designers in French fashion in the 1990’s, and I believe that continues into the 2000’s. But how did he get to that noteworthy position in fashion history, you ask? Oh, please allow me to tell you the full story, its pretty extensive.

Yves Mathieu Saint-Laurent (his government name) was born in Oran, Algeria in 1936, which technically makes him French and African. His family was considered very prominent in Oran with his father being the President of an insurance company and the owner of a chain of movie theaters. His mother Lucienne-Andree, half Belgian and Spanish, was where he got his sense of style.

A little bit of a history side: His family was not affected by WW II because their father was not drafted and they lived far from France. But that Karma would soon come back around to effect Yves personally.

Yves was led to fashion through a back door, theatre. Because he was bullied at school he took refuge at home. He was able to use a spare room to act out plays by Moilere and Giraudoux for his family, plays he spent most of his days studying and practicing. Becoming more fascinated with theatre, he began to read the reviews in the French magazine Vogue. It was when he the descriptions of the costumes worn by actors when he became hooked. Fashion was beginning to mean as much to him as theatre.

After entering a contest for young designers,International Wool Secretariat, in 1950 and gaining third place he was able to attend an award ceremony in Paris. In Paris he met Michel de Brunoff who was the editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue who was impressed by Yves and told him to study at Chambre Dyndicale de la Couture. He packed up and left to study but he left after a short while because he found the syllabus frustrating.

For a second time in 1954 he entered the International Wool Secretariat and won first place beating out legendary Karl Lagerfeld. He took the winning sketches to the editor-in-chief of the French Vogue. Brunoff noticed similarities between his sketches and those of Christian Dior, sent Yves over, and Dior hired him on the spot.

Yves Saint Laurent did not get special treatment at Dior, he had to do normal intern-like work, sounds familiar? After proving his place, he was able to submit sketches for the couture collection. More and more of his sketches were being accepted and in 1957 Dior had formally chosen Yves to succeed him as a designer, the same year that he passed away.

At 21 years old he was thrown into the spotlight, having to save the Dior house. His used secret weapon to save the day,his famous Trapeze line. The narrow shoulders and wide swinging skirts were a hit because people were getting tired of girdles. This success was short lived because the following collections where chewed up and spat out by the press. At a not-so-high point in his career he was drafted into the military. He was shortly released due to nervous depression, but that was not a surprise to business partner and former lover, Pierre Berge. Pierre said that Saint Laurent was born with nervous depression. To top is allll off Dior fired him while he was away for only 20 days.

In 1962 he was back on his feet opening a house with Berge. The first line under his label was compared to those of Chanel, the suit QUEEN. His muse for many years was Catherine Deneuve. He empowered women with his masculine and elegant trouser suits for women. Other popular pieces of his were tight pants, trapeze dresses, peasant blouses, smocks, thigh high boots, see-through blouses and tuxedo jackets. Smoking Jackets were also his trademark and very controversial because is made women able to affirm themselves as men.

In 1969 he pioneered designer men’s wear, ditching pin stripes and modernizing the male look. His feelings on clothing were carried on threw his designs: He detested fashion, but lived for style. And style is what he brought to mens and womenswear.

He was also the first designer to use black models in runway shows and among the first to use Asian and Pacific Island models.

Yves Saint Laurent went through spells in 1967 and 1971 of horrible controversy over his collections. These hard times fueled his lifestyle of being a party boy, seen at plays like Studio 54 often drinking and doing cocaine. His use of drugs increased more and more as the stress of making 2 ready to wear and 2 haute couture lines weighed down on him.

In 1970 he came out with a perfume line called ” Opium” ( wow ironic), which he posed nude with his classes to advertise. You can image how well that turned out.

After a horrible 1987 ready to wear show he turned over his ready to wear line to his assistants, who kept up its momentum.

In 1983, then Vogue magazine editor, Diana Vreeland constructed a solo exhibition of Saint Laurent. He would be the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The retrospective has over 300 pieces exhibited. In 2001 he became the commander of the Legion d’Honneur by Jacques Chirac. He created a foundation with Berge to trace the history of YSL, is consists of 15,000 objects and 5,000 pieces of clothing.

He sold his company to Gucci Group for $70 million and remained as an advisor for a few years.

After 40 years in the industry he retired in 2002.

Saint Laurent’s personal life with Berges was not so personal a few days before his death when they were joined in same sex civil union so that he could receive his assets after being together for 50 years

Yves’ success was rarely registered to him, according to his love Berge. His depression ran deep and he rarely found joy in what he did. The times that he did have joy, it was hard for him. His instability is the reason why Berge was glad he was unaware of his brain cancer.

In 1996 Saint Laurent was the first couturier to have his Couture show live online and in that same year he stopped making huge shows for his ready to wear, only showing them by appointment.

I love Saint Laurent because he believed that fashion was to be worn, not made into a catwalk show, but into theatre. He was a true designer with his heart in the right place, but unfortunately his mind wasn’t. However with all the up and down responses to his clothing and his early childhood and adulthood traumas, depression was sure to follow. He once said “I’ve known fear and terrible solitude,” he said. “Tranquilizers and drugs, those phony friends. The prison of depression and hospitals. I’ve emerged from all this, dazzled but sober.”

For such a sad guy he had a hell-of-a lot of talent. It make me sad to know that he would never be able to fully appreciate his gift because of his mental issues. However, that is why us fans write about him and remember him to this day, because of his contributions to fashion. He was once the under dog and he help those who may not be considered front runners to get their share of popularity. Yves Saint Laurent changed the way that clothing looks and feels today and everywhere we look we see his influence. I appreciate him for all his work, good or bad, because it made him the legend his is today and gave me someone to look up to with hope that one day I can succeed if I persevere and cut through all the BS any way that I can, just like Yves.