RUNWAY AND REVIEW: GARETH PUGH
Gareth Pugh is one of the most exciting designers on the planet. When he hit the runway back in 2005 at 23 years old he did what most can’t and changed the course of fashion, foretelling the way the more extreme part of the industry has become an integral part of youth and pop culture. By the time Beyonce was wearing his dresses to aid her transformation into Sasha Fierce the influence of his extraordinary women and powerful alien silhouettes seemed tangible when the fashion superheroes exhibition hit the Met in New York; interest had revived in eighties designers like Thierry Mugler who trod a not dissimilar path 30 years ago.
Nowadays Gareth has a store in Hong Kong where he told me some time ago the newly rich Chinese women who shop there like to dress like futuristic punks. Indeed his shows and the fashion films he makes with Ruth Hogben are watched by the industry to divine news from the future.
This seasons show at the Palais de Tokyo, was based on a film Gareth had seen at his long time partners home in Glasgow. Titled Cocker, the film by Erik Levine depicts Puerto Rico’s cock fighting scene. As Gareth told it backstage tonight, the cocks and the spurs on their feet are like the sort of tough women who leave the hairdresser’s in heels ready to fight. The show and the immense warlike heels were based around a reverse of this idea.
Opening with models in black gauze and wearing mantillas, this was the mourning stage, amongst that was lots of silvery gray and the odd flash of an all blood red look. Moving on to dresses in flowing layers still cut in his trademark "triangles, the most powerful shape" he has said in the past, others were heavily embroidered or frayed or in beautiful almost liquid metal suedes, with fringing.
There’s a real sense of family backstage at Gareth’s shows, with his old fellow Peckham squatters much in evidence, including his show stylist Dazed & Confused fashion editor, a heavily pregnant Katie Shillingford and artist Matthew Stone, Gareth’s show music producer, who afterwards seemed very happy that the heavy rain had added extra drama to his haunting soundtrack as apparently in rehearsal the same thing had happened and everyone had begged him to make it rain on cue for the show. Lo it did. Someone up above is on Gareth’s side.
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Photography by NOWfashion