The designer Thierry Mugler was inspired by sci-fi, exotic insects, Golden Era Hollywood, superhero comics and intergalactica but he had a thing for a particular blue star: it was sculpted into a huge talismanic golden ring he always wore, the subject of his first bit of body art and the concept behind his bottle design for Angel perfume.
Describing his difficult early years to Fashion, he said that as a child, he often slept outdoors but felt supported by the constellations.”I would watch the skies at night to look for the blue star and know then that I had to hold on.”
Nobody appears to have asked Thierry Mugler the name of this star or sought to identify it and sadly, the iconic creative passed in January 2022. However, I’m confident that the star was Regulus aka Cor Leonis – the heart of the lion.
There are not many blue stars and Regulus is the brightest – it’s also the only one on the Ecliptic – the most prominent part of the night sky. Regulus is at 29° Leo, Mugler was born with 1° Virgo Rising and a 29° Sagittarius Sun. With Regulus conjunct his Ascendant and exactly trine his Saggo Sun, he would naturally have resonated with this star.
Regulus Rising is the King (or Queen) of grand expectations and flamboyant scenes. Excess can be their undoing but if you channel it into performance or invention? You lead a large life. Mugler was born on a Galactic birthday – his Sun was conjunct the Galactic Center and the South Node – he whirled into this cosmic centrifuge like he was out clubbing.
The magical star sustained him through an era where was considered so “bizarre” in the provincial town he grew up in that people threw rocks at him. He pulled off an escape via ballet school and began his career as a party-animal workaholic proto-influencer designer.
Neptune was in Sagittarius and Mugler was in Paris – this worked. What’s more, he was a triple Saggo – the Sun plus Venus and Mercury – and the latter two were opposite Uranus. This is a fab formula for artistic success and while the designer has too many iconic moments to cover here, consider the following style phenoms that he originated:
*Super-extreme shoulderpads, a la the Eighties ‘power-suit’ vibe.
*Theatrical catwalk shows with live musicians & a performance element.
*Refillable perfume bottles – he wanted people to be able to refill at the store.
*Faux fur – he was against animal fur from the start – and experimental synthetics/metamorphic materials.
*Pan-generational casting – Mugler was the first big designer to feature models in their 60s & 70s.
*Physical+ cultural/class diversity.
The Thierry Mugler 1995/1996 Autumn collection is considered by many industry people to be the most brilliant fashion show ever – the “Woodstock of fashion” – and his live-wire Venus-Uranian aesthetic still crackles through culture like an electrical current.
Mugler did the plot-point/dress Demi Moore wore in Indecent Proposal, Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi + Telephone looks, Cirque de Soleil costumes, the art direction + wardrobe for Beyonce’s I Am tour, stage outfits for Grace Jones, Cardi B’s “birth of Venus” dress for the Grammy’s when she became the first female to win best rap album, Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman wardrobe for The Dark Knight Rises, Kim Kardashians 2019 ‘wet look’ Met Gala dress, David Bowie’s mermaid gown for the Boys Keep Swinging video and so many more.
Besides his Sagittarius trio, Mugler was blessed with a triple conjunction of Mars, the Moon and Pluto in Leo. Neptune in Sagittarius (1970 to 1984) and Uranus in Sagittarius (1981 to 1988) were fantastic for him.
Here is an astrological success insight: the designer was born with a brilliant trine from his Uranus in Gemini to Neptune in Libra. From 1990, these two outer planets began to converge ahead of their rare (once every 172 years) conjunction in 1993.
While the alignment degree of 18° Capricorn was not necessarily great for Mugler, the convergence of two planets that he had in fab natal aspect was beneficial and in 1992, everything stepped up….
1992 was the year Thierry Mugler broke into mainstream consciousness with his styling and direction of the iconic Too Funky video for the musician George Michael and Angel, a perfume themed around his talisman star.
George Michael was a triple-Cancerian and Mugler’s Saturn in Cancer sat smack-bang on the musician’s Ascendant/North Node combo. Mugler’s Jupiter in Libra squared (aka aggravated) G.M’s Ascendant/Node and G.M’s Mercury + Venus in Gemini were opposite Mugler’s Mercury + Venus in Saggo.
This is an almighty clash with each seeing the other as crazy/restrictive/impinging on their vision.The creative control tustle concluded with there actually being two versions of Too Funky – one featuring George Michael as a voyeuristic cameraman which Mugler calls “de-queered” and the director’s cut Mugler did that was deemed too lascivious – it’s fabulous, naturally.
Both men had Mars conjunct Pluto so they could rapidly torque up from neutral to full-throttle loathing and then stay at an adrenal Grudge Flashpoint for a long time – 17 years in this case.
The feud lasted for 17 years and was apparently only broken because George needed emergency P.R. access to Beyonce and Thierry was producing her I Am tour at the time.
The scent was and is something else. Perverse, polarizing and undeniably unique, Angel initiated a new fragrance genre – Gourmand. The original has top notes of praline, chocolate, cotton-candy and patchouli: Fragrance critic Tania Sanchez describes it as being in a “high energy state of contradiction. Many perfumes are beautiful or pleasant but how many are exciting?”
The perfume fluid and the asymmetrical five-pointed star bottle that Mugler designed are both his favorite icy-blue with a hint of purple. The backers, advisors and business partners were convinced it would flop after a micro-flurry of attention.
“The name, the bottle, the color, the smell – everything was a fight,” the designer said. It was, of course, a crazy success and still sells millions of bottles a year. Angel was also possibly the last mainstream perfume created without the input of a marketing department. In 1999 it became the first scent eligible for copyright protection, probably because it’s also one of the most ripped-off scent products in the world.
It’s also the smell of Uranus conjunct Neptune in Capricorn: Esoteric – the Uranian violet hue of the liquid contained in a pentacle-like five-pointed Venusian star – and eccentric (earthy, hippie patchouli made to merge with super-synthetic candy notes) with big finance dramas beneath.
Angel immediately made mad money, enough to ensure Mugler a personal wealth trove and for that cash stash to be constantly replenished by quantum sales. This was handy because in 1997, as Pluto arrived in Sagittarius and squared his Ascendant, the French beauty giant Clarins bought out Mugler’s company.
Shortly afterward, the new owners shut down the (fabulous but unprofitable) fashion division and while they kept the scent line going, Mugler himself was sidelined so far as control or input went. There are worse problems to have than to be wealthy yet out of the picture but Virgo Rising likes to work and for a Moon-Mars-Pluto in Leo person to not be the creator? Unthinkable.
It was also the era of waifs or grunge, not glamazons and the designers triple-Sagg candor – he’d say things like “these clothes will get you fuqed, honey” on live air or “elegance is guts, it’s nerve” – was not a good fit with corporate messaging templates.
He resigned or was eased out when Pluto was on his Venus so naturally he went for a radical transformation, bulking up his muscle, sporting a handlebar moustache and evidently some facial cosmetic surgery.
The Hiss Squad accused him of aspiring to a (NSFW) ‘Tom of Finland” look while others assumed he was hitting some human growth hormone or having a three-quarter-life crisis.
But as he put it to Tippi Hendren – one of his long-time models – “After years of being a thin, charming dancer, I wanted to be a warrior. I’ve done so much in my life. I’ve fought so much. I’m a superhero, so it’s normal to have the face of one.”
But this was just the beginning of the plutonic fracas…
In an ultra-plutonic move, he also changed his name back to the original “Manfred Thierry Mugler.” It was to reclaim his identity, as he said, but being able to design for the clients clamoring for his work without violating any agreements must have been a factor as well.
Mugler the company then dropped the “Thierry”, hired a new designer and relaunched the fashion part of the designer’s business. Neptune in Pisces seemed suitably nebulous for Mugler the man – he went back to the company but it’s unclear what role he had and co-existed alongside a series of ‘artistic directors’ who ran the look and vibe of the brand.
He did a nude photo shoot with the edgy Steven Klein but kept his face veiled because he was evidently not happy with the results of the various surgeries and even those had shifting sagas around them. It’s sad because you get the feeling that if he’d been able to hang on to the brand and business he originated, he would have been more secure and grounded.
FYI – Neptune opposing your Ascendant, squaring your Venus + Uranus is not a good time for cosmetic surgery to alter your appearance.
Still, he had a fantastic 2019 – dressing Solange, Cardi B + Kim Kardashian – and launching a Mugler retrospective exhibition that he wasn’t aligned with (Saggos don’t do retrospectives – they’re People of the Now) but which enraptured an entirely new audience.
Clarins sold the Mugler brand to L’Oreal over late 2019 and early 2020 and while there is no confirmation of this, scent-lovers forums like Fragrantica have been full of frantic fans alleging that the Angel formula has been altered. They’re getting granular with batch numbers to try and determine which ones are still the original.
While this could have been stressful or infuriating to Thierry Mugler – the man, not the brand – it also affirmed his instincts. He had huge plans and collabs lined up but the pandemic disrupted his life, as it did everyone’s and then sadly he died “of natural causes” at his home in Vincennes, on January 23, 2022.
I don’t know what transpired, obviously, but Regulus – the protective blue star of his childhood and keeper of kings – was overhead where he lived in the early hours of that day and it rose that evening at about 7pm, so I’d like to think that whatever happened it was nightime, peaceful and he had sight of his stellar guardian.