I’ve loved Gareth Pugh for several years now and have watched him as he’s gained the fashion industry’s attention: gaining popularity at London Fashion Week with his abstract and body altering collections, being transferred to Paris Fashion Week, gaining press attention through celebrities wearing his designs (Roisin Murphey, Kylie, Beyonce and Rihanna to name a few), his first menswear collection, LVMH confirming they’re responsible for financially backing his shows. So, I was exciting to see what this designer would dream up for his Spring / Summer 2010 collection.
With a front row that boasted Rihanna (she couldn’t stop declaring how she “loved it”), Terence Koh, Mario Testino, Michael Stipe and Daphne Guinness, what was once a certain type of clientale/fanbase for Pugh has surely expanded somewhat and this collection is yet another milestone in Pugh’s establishment in Paris.
The film that Gareth Pugh debuted at an installation during New York Fashion Week was supposed to be a precursor to the newest collection and whilst it got the mood and the colours spot on, you would not have been able to guess the sort of shape shifting that Pugh would show in Paris, a collection that moved in a new direction, veering away from the menacing looks the designer favours for a more wearable wardrobe.
Cue the trench coat that was the opener for the collection, thickly belted and boasting layers of skirt beneath it. Next, there were jackets corseted into shape by zips, dresses that streamlined the body into place with black semi-circular panels at the flanks and a palette of grey (from dove to slate, and often doubled up together).
Overall, this collection was far softer than anything Pugh has created before; the shapes flowed, as opposed to previous collections where designs were more restrictive. Models floated down the runway in their softer fabrics, where before they appeared to be stomping out for war. They were styled with red smudged eyes that looked like they hadn’t slept, and wore grey hair bands that matched their clothes and came out as a dark serenity.
I was disappointed to see the same dress (pretty much) that he designed for Spring / Summer 2009 – see the pictures to the right for comparison. And the use of the same tessellating triangle shapes. Similarly, the menswear collection toyed with the same shape vocabulary as previous collections with perhaps a bigger emphasis on structure. I hope he doesn’t think to repeat this style again or the fashion industry will get bored and lose its’ dark side.