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Ascending with GARETH PUGH

Gareth Pugh came to New York to stir things up, and stir them he did. The British designer presented as part of the Lexus Design Disrupted for MADE Fashion Week, working with LEGS and treated fashion-goers with a transfixing performance which combined live dancers and video art. Milk Made talked to Pugh to find out more about where the collection bore fruit.

What was the inspiration for the show?

I was primarily influenced by British folklore…you know the movie “Wicker Man?” (laughs). In the U.K. there’s a very specific niche that are very much about revering pagan gods—of the sea, of harvest, of farming, agriculture, and other aspects of the nature of things. I liked the idea of rebirth and new beginnings because I think that’s a quite optimistic message, so we created three installations that tried to illustrate these things. We had a tornado, for example, which was a quite visceral element. If you do something creative, you do it, you start again, and then you try to reinvent yourself. It’s always about evolving. Last night we had two performances, and the dancers are so incredible and so intuitive that no one performance is the same—everything is always evolving.

You’ve resorted to video before as a platorm to showcase your designs. Why do you choose this medium, and what are the benefits to this way of presenting your collection as opposed to a runway show?

Amidst the development of ideas we found out that we had the prosperity of not having to do a runway show. Once you know that you’re able to re-imagine the event to not have to have this kind of structure, me and my team had a lot of freedom to think what we want to do rather than what we can do. I find there’s a level of realism that needs to be attained in a runway—to show the clothes—but different kinds of shows can be immersive and otherworldly.

What were the most palpable differences between presenting in Paris and in New York?

I was quite surprised by how responsive people were. I find that fashion people—which is an industry based on change, is reluctant to embrace real change; not just hemlines and colors, but with the way that things are presented. So it was quite surprising to have a good reception.

What was it like working with Georgie and Geremy at LEGS?

It was great! I mean, it’s really important and nice to work with someone creative and cool, and everybody involved in this project is super talented and creative and on top of their game, and it’s really nice when all these people come together to get the most and the best of what you can do. Yeah, they were great.

What is an ideal collaboration for a future presentation?

Mmmm. That’s hard. With all the different time zones it involved a lot of conference calls (laughs). I guess I would have to say Wayne McGregor. I’ve worked with him before and I would love to do something with him again. It’s nice to imagine what you can do outside of what you can do.

Film stills from Lexus Design Disrupted – Monolith and Ascension.

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