Remembering Thierry Mugler: Mugler's Best Fragrances

Remembering Thierry Mugler: Mugler's Best Fragrances

The perfume world recently lost one of its brightest visionaries. Born on December 21st, 1948, Thierry Mugler was known for his avant-garde approach to both perfume and haute couture. He began designing for Karim in 1971, and in 1973, he launched his first solo collection. Five years later in 1978, he opened his first Paris boutique and gained attention for his tailored designs inspired by vintage glamor and science fiction.

Mugler was committed to inclusivity and representation, challenging the notions of who “belonged” on the runway. His shows often tackled racism and ageism, and he featured many nontraditional models. His fashion shows were highly theatrical and featured heavy theming around concepts like science fiction, vampires, devils, Africa, the aquatic world, and others. His first complete haute couture collection debuted in 1992 at the request of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the governing body of the French high fashion world.

Mugler’s approach to perfume was similarly high-concept. His first scent, Angel for Women, was one of the earliest gourmand-style perfumes. Angel is the fifth-best-selling perfume of all time in the United States, and even overtook Chanel No. 5 for a time in France.

Before his entry into the fashion world, Mugler was a dancer. He began studying classical dance at age 9, and by age 14 he was a member of the ballet corps for the Rhin Opera. Mugler’s love of dance infiltrated all aspects of his design sensibilities, and he loved to design for performers. Some of his most famous friendships and collaborations came about for artists like David Bowie, Grace Jones, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Diana Ross. Actress Tippi Hedren was a long time friend and muse as well.

Though he officially retired from fashion in 2002, Mugler would return occasionally to collaborate with other artists. He designed Beyoncé’s costumes for her 2008 I Am… world tour, as well as Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala dress in 2019. Lady Gaga, Cardi B, and other pop musicians have spearheaded an interest in his vintage designs in recent years, making the brand highly coveted for resale among Gen Z.

Up to the end, Thierry Mugler was interested in treating the human body like an instrument. To him, dance, fashion, art, and fragrance were all aspects of humanity that could be pushed and pulled, manipulated to create something new and beautiful. Mugler’s trademark was to always take things a step further and push the envelope on what the fashion world deemed acceptable. This was true of his perfumes as well; he was an innovator to the core, and the House of Mugler is known for fragrances that engage and intrigue the senses by leaning on new and unexpected aromatic combinations. But while Mugler himself may have left us, his indelible mark on the perfume world will always persist, as seen by the continued popularity of the House of Mugler’s fragrances.

1. Angel for Women by Thierry Mugler

Launched in 1992, Angel for Women by Thierry Mugler was one of the first gourmand perfumes. Gourmand scents tend to smell sweet and almost edible, and all of the perfumes in the Angel family will make your mouth water. Sweet and fruity top notes give way to a luxuriously rich base of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate for a decadent, feminine scent.

Scent Notes:

  • Top: Cotton Candy, Coconut, Cassis, Melon, Jasmine, Bergamot, Pineapple, Mandarin Orange
  • Mid: Honey, Red Berries, Blackberry, Plum, Apricot, Peach, Jasmine, Orchid, Caraway, Nutmeg, Rose, Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Base: Patchouli, Chocolate, Caramel, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Amber, Musk, Sandalwood

2. Aura for Women by Thierry Mugler

Aura for Women by Thierry Mugler is a botanical, floral perfume that utilizes lesser-known plants to achieve a bold, daring approach to a traditional feminine scent. While not all of the plants are identified, the star of the show is tiger liana, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. Tiger liana root combines green botanicals with an almost animalistic musk, along with hints of smokiness and something akin to sugared almond. Like all of Mugler’s scents, Aura is complex and addictive.

Scent Notes:

  • Top: Fresh leaves, Tiger Liana, Rhubarb, Bergamot
  • Mid: Orange Blossom, Green Notes, Ylang-Ylang, Pear
  • Base: Bourbon Vanilla, Woody Notes, Amberwood, Sandalwood, Coumarin

3. Alien Man for Men by Thierry Mugler

Alien Man for Men by Theirry Mugler is one of the newest members of the Alien family of scents. Launched in 2018, Alien Man’s fresh, herbal opening quickly gives way to lush mid notes of osmanthus and leather, finished out by white amber, cashmeran, and a classic vanilla. Alien Man is simultaneously familiar and exotic– while the opening salvo reminds many of a classic sporty masculine scent, it quickly gives way to the fragrance’s signature wave of smoothness and luxury.

Scent Notes:

  • Top: Anise, Dill, Mint, Beech, Lavender, Thyme, Lemon
  • Mid: Leather, Cashmere Wood, Osmanthus, Pepper, Geranium
  • Base: White Amber, Cashmeran, Vanilla
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