How Manfred Thierry Mugler Influenced the World of Anime

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“I made clothes because I was looking for something that didn’t exist. I had to try to create my own world,” Manfred Thierry Mugler once said. And that’s exactly what the fashion and perfume visionary did, inspiring others beyond fashion to include art forms such as manga and anime. The […]

“I made clothes because I was looking for something that didn’t exist. I had to try to create my own world,” Manfred Thierry Mugler once said. And that’s exactly what the fashion and perfume visionary did, inspiring others beyond fashion to include art forms such as manga and anime.

The designer, who died last week at 73, combined fashion, technology, sci-fi and surrealism in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, revitalizing the fashion world. His affinity for the female form was evident throughout his work — he turned women into otherworldly creatures, insects, angels — you name it.

His eccentric and futuristic approach to fashion helped cultivate some of the most stylish vilenesses in Sailor Moon, such as Koan and Princess Snow Kaguya. With characters draped in Mugler-esque pieces from the notable Fall 1992 collection, Naoko Takeuchi, the mastermind behind Sailor Moon, embraced haute couture whilst creating an empowering universe for girls.

Love, justice and friendship are the main premises of Sailor Moon but Takeuchi also mesmerized audiences with her characters’ costumes, designs and art. As a haute couture and fashion aficionado, Takeuchi took inspiration from the ‘90s runways from the likes of Mugler, Chanel and Dior. This is what makes Sailor Moon special for a lot of people; you have your empowering protagonists and the beauty of expression through fashion.


Sailor Moon revived the magical girl genre in Japan and set the pace for similar animated shows in the West, portraying powerful and hyper-feminine girls in series such as the Winx Club and Totally Spies. The genre focuses on the power of young women and emphasizes that being a girl doesn’t make you weak. Instead, the magical girl genre subverts the outdated trope and highlights one’s power as a girl with the skirts, high heels and makeup.

Mugler’s influence on anime even encompasses perfume and Karen Mulder’s hair from his Spring 92 collection. His best-selling Angel ‘Eau de Parfum’ with Amy Wesson inspired a Vento Aureo cover. From Bruno Buccellati wearing Mugler pieces from the Fall 1996 collection and Giorno Giovanna’s infamous hairstyle, it’s safe to say that Mugler’s impact transcends beyond the runway. Below, a few highlights.

Koan’s Bodysuit Inspired by Mugler Fall 1992


Screenshot via YouTube

Koan is one of many glamorous villainesses in Sailor Moon. Yes, she’s a villain but she looks good doing it. One of the most iconic fits of all, Koan is draped in a multi layered feathered tutu skirt with a semi sheer bodysuit, almost identical to Mugler’s in the FW 1992 collection.

Queen Beryl’s Mugler-Inspired Dress

Another villainess, another Mugler look. Takeuchi took inspiration from many of Mugler’s haute couture collections. In particular, Queen Beryl’s dark purple dress was inspired by his Spring 1992 collection where Ivana Trump walked the runway with the theatrical dress.

Sailor Saturn’s Shirt

Sailor Saturn is the strongest and most feared of all Sailor Guardians, due to her powers and of course, she had to be decked out in a Mugler-esque t-shirt. Another ode to Mugler, Sailor Saturn wears a black turtleneck t-shirt with a black bow on each shoulder, inspired by the Fall 1992 collection.

Princess Snow Kaguya’s Dress

For Princess Snow Kaguya, her dress was inspired by the white dress worn by Laurence Pellagot from the Fall 1999 collection. The dress always goes viral on Twitter for how beautiful and detailed it is. I certainly don’t blame Takeuchi for taking inspiration.

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