Vintage 1980s Thierry Mugler wrap dress in a chalk-striped bright navy wool gabardine fuses power dressing with the designer’s penchant for the seductive and the sculptural. The dress’ silhouette balances its broad shoulders, boldly peaked lapels, and menswear-inspired fabric with a blouson back, nipped waist and slim skirt, and is enlivened by witty, avant garde flourishes like sleeves that have been stitched into a faux-billowy shape with wrist points to visually rhyme the asymmetrical “point” of the skirt hem at its crossover.
Echoing the balance between exaggeration and tailored chic, the dress’ two pockets seem to play off one another as well: One a slouchy, flapped hip patch pocket, and the other an angled welt pocket over the heart.
Unlined, the dress has large, non-integral shoulder pads covered in navy satin, and closes simply with one inner button at the left waist, and one outer button at the right. Gentle gathers at the waist seam are satin bound across the back, and there is an almost mathematical precision to the way the dress is edged all around (hem, sleeve outers and ends, and lapels) with a double-stitched border.
Label reads “Thierry Mugler, Paris, Made in France,” and the tag size is a vintage European 40. A faded inventory label states the fabric content as 98% worsted wool and 2% polyester.
Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana were the new, young designers who launched the iconic 80s wide shoulder look with their collections in 1978; Mugler’s riffs on the theme that year included chunky, ribbed shoulder pads worn outside the garment and bold epaulettes. Photo #14 shows a Mugler wool gabardine jacket from February 1987 with identical sleeve construction, and a review of his fall ‘87 presentation at LA’s Beverly Wilshire hotel describes “banker’s pinstripes interpreted in coatdresses with jutting shoulders,” leading me to believe the dress being offered here likely dates from that year.
Measurements are bust 36”, shoulders 18”, sleeves 22” (24” at the “point”), waist 26”, hips 34”, bodice length (front) 15”and (back) 20”, length shoulder seam to hem 38”.
Very good condition, with no flaws other than a ½” x ¼” hole at the inner bottom corner of the pocket (invisible while worn; photos #12 and #13).
Please note: I’ve stuffed the sleeves with tissue in most pictures, to approximate the appearance of an arm inside them; photo #15 shows the dress with sleeves unstuffed.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild