From Dua Lipa to Doja Cat, the black Mugler bodysuit has become a favorite among pop performers.

By Deidre Redhead.

A black bodysuit is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of a popstar’s outfit. The idea of a show-stopping performance is only complete with ensembles that are bright, colorful, and bedazzled. However, the black, bold, dynamic bodysuits from Thierry Mugler’s revived brand MUGLER have become a staple in the arsenal of many current pop stars. 

The garment is a sleek, figure-hugging bodysuit with intricate cuts and peek-a-boo mesh panels. The garment is so popular that Twitter user @camerouninema created a thread listing all the singers who have been seen wearing Mugler, with artist FKA Twigs being the most recent addition. 

Gen Z may be unfamiliar with the work of Thierry Mugler. The brand ruled the fashion scene of the ‘80s and ‘90s, worn by celebrities from Cindy Crawford to Madonna. But it’s thanks to stars like Cardi B — a self-proclaimed Mugler fan who’s dipped into his archives for events like the 2019 Grammys —that the house was recently revived. 

Mugler has a long history of creating one-of-a-kind, stylish bodysuits. The “Cyborg” bodysuit, originaly worn on the runway by German supermodel Nadja Auermann, was one of the highlights of the brand’s 1995 Fall/Winter collection. Complete with metal breastplates, the fembot look was made with the help of aircraft specialist Jean-Pierre Delcros.

Mugler’s creative director Casey Cadwallader is the mind behind the brand’s more recent one pieces, which Hunter Schafer of HBO’s Euphoria and Dominique Jackson of Pose wore on International Trans Day of Visibility. Cadwallader’s work has been celebrated for incorporating vintage Mugler while re-defining the brand for a younger generation. 

Doja Cat wore an iteration of the one piece in the music video for her song “Streets”, while Miley Cyrus performed an array of songs for her set at the iHeartradio festival in the sheer bodysuit. Singer Dua Lipa has worn it on multiple occasions, including her 2019 MTV EMAs performance, photoshoot with Rolling Stone, and Studio 54 inspired virtual concert Studio 2054.

The bodysuit in itself is ideal for modern female pop singers who wish to combine movement with sartorial melodramatics. Singers such as Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears have all been known to perform in similar ensembles.

The confidence that comes with catsuit-like apparel was, however, realized a decade before the Mugler brand was launched in 1974. The Space Age fashion style of the 1960s, pioneered by French civil engineer turned designer André Courregès, was at the intersections of the women’s liberation movement and the space race. He wanted his women’s pieces to embody the free feeling of the decade, citing the “everyday woman” as a muse for his clothes. In a 1965 interview, Courregès told Life Magazine, “Working women have always interested me the most. They belong to the present, the future.”

Mugler’s recent bodysuits are nothing short of the high-fashion, haute couture pieces that were the brand’s staple. It’s Cadwallader’s emphasis on wearability, however, that established a separate identity from the founder’s vision. “At Mugler, I am focused on delivering a new type of sexiness and boldness to women, one where they choose how they want to project themselves,” Cadwallader told British Vogue.

Mugler’s clothes have found a place among a generation that prides itself on body positivity. The bodysuits’ heavy black color palette yet generous, revealing cuts around areas like the chest and thighs embrace female sexuality and the concept of being comfortable in one’s own skin, defining precedents for today’s pop stars.