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August 30 2014

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Thierry Mugler’s Next Act

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The name Mugler is on the fashion world’s lips again, thanks largely to the collaboration of super-stylist Nicola Formichetti, now the label’s creative director, and Lady Gaga, its muse and sometime model. But the man himself has left the building: Thierry Mugler, now known as Manfred, has decamped for other pursuits. The latest premieres this week in New York: drag performance artist Joey Arias’ live show at Town Hall. Mugler, who previously worked with Arias (above) on a smaller-scale show at Abrons Art Center at New York’s Henry Street Settlement last October, served as the evening’s artistic director.

“Joey refers to Manfred as the Master and Manfred refers to Joey as the Muse,” said Earl Dax, one of the show’s producers. (Dax is a noted queer-nightlife impresario, and recently became one of the first recipient of the Museum of Arts & Design’s new Fun Fellowship for his work. “I was definitely surprised,” the 39-year-old said with a laugh. “I hadn’t heard of a fellowship to support the practices of nightlife before.”) Arias, who worked with Cirque du Soleil as its “mistress of seduction” for six years, has worked with Mugler on and off on various projects since 1980. And while Mugler himself isn’t talking, Arias was glad to tout him and his work. And to hear him tell it, the man’s bigger-is-better spirit is unchanged. “Working with Manfred is something that I wish many could experience,” Arias said. “His details are so exact and his love for the different and real is like no other. As a director he pushes you beyond human capabilities. It could be too much, but better too much than not enough.”

Photo: Leo Herrera

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Dept. of Culture