The Rise of the Fashion Film

When I started this blog in 2008 I would’ve never written about film. I’m the first to admit that I know nothing about the film industry, aside from what I’ve learnt flicking through Little White Lies magazine. It just eludes me. However, as we move into 2014 it’s impossible for me to ignore the prevalence, and importance, of the ‘fashion film’.

The theme of this year’s Costume Society study day was “Shooting Style: Fashion on Screen”. Both Nathaniel Beard and Pamela Church Gibson emphasised the importance of this medium. Nathanial presented footage of early fashion films, whereas Pamela gave an overview of its evolution and current examples. (My friend Lori tweeted throughout the conference, and put together this brilliant Storify thread of the day).


Pugh’s creative direction

Found via Vogue UK:

“Flattered but inappropriate” was the reaction Gareth Pugh gave when his name was suggested as the successor to the late Alexander McQueen’s label. “There have been so many rumours. How many jobs can one person do? To be honest with you, I thought that the McQueen thing was a little in bad taste with the circumstances surrounding that. It is vaguely flattering but obviously the inappropriateness did rather take over,” Pugh, in Florence to make his Italian debut with Pitti, told Vogue.

“I met him a couple of times but I didn’t know him as a person, I never worked with him. They obviously have a very specific way of working there and Sarah Burton worked with him for a long, long time and to be given that role and responsibility is a tough one.”


Gareth Pugh at Pitti

Making his Italian fashion debut with a reimagining of the Sistine Chapel, Gareth Pugh showcased his designs at Pitti Immagine #79 via a film created by Ruth Hogben. Projected onto the ceiling of Orsanmichele, a 14th-century church, Pugh’s collection, which was inspired by religious iconography and Florentine opulence, melded with the grand traditions and art of the ancient city.

“Basically we’re doing a film like a fresco. So the screen is going to be the ceiling and the idea was to, rather than just bring a new collection, bring the universe, the Gareth Pugh universe, to introduce who I am and what I do to a new audience,” Pugh told Vogue only hours ahead of the grand unveiling.

“The idea is that the audience will stand in a cloud. We’re using the top space in the old building and it’s quite a journey to get up there and it feels very high. This evening we’ve got this smoke so it’s like you’re in a cloud, looking up into this world.”

And Pugh’s world is one of considerable imagination, attention to detail and hard-work. When the designer appeared as part of the Fashion East line-up, back in 2005, he was a solo endeavour with no financial backing and no means of bulk production.

“I do what feels right to me. Back then I didn’t have any worries with regards to making clothes that would sell in shops. When Lulu [Kennedy, founder of Fashion East] asked me to do Fashion East I had just left college and a lot of people present their stuff there when they have factories and production in place. I didn’t do that so ever since I have been playing catch up,” recalls the designer, who has since gone on to open a standalone shop with Hong Kong-based retailer I.T. Group and become a regular fixture on the Paris Fashion Week schedule following his ANDAM award win in 2008.

He added, “You have to remember, when I’m showing in Paris I’m showing next to people like Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent and huge houses that obviously have teams and teams and armies of people to do things for them.”

But teams and teams and armies of people aren’t really what Pugh would want anyway, preferring instead to maintain control of his vision, something which is very important to him and through which he finds film to be a perfect outlet.

“For me it [film] brings back control. With a live show you only have a certain amount of control over what you do. When models go out they can fall over, photographers can take bad pictures, the models can have their eyes closed, the outfit could be blowing some weird way that looks awful and obviously those pictures of my work or my show define me as a designer for the next six months. If those pictures are awful, I’m not going to be very happy,” says Pugh, noting an instance in which a catwalk look was lost due to a wardrobe malfunction where an intern mixed up the outfit. “But shit happens,” he levels.

Store opening: Gareth Pugh, Hong Kong

British, avant-garde designer Gareth Pugh has opened his first retail store in Hong Kong as part of a deal with I.T. Group, the company that now owns Pugh’s Hong Kong retail rights. The 658-square-foot shop is located on Ice House Street near other experimental designers, such as, Comme des Garçons, Ann Demeulemeester and Martin Margiela.

The interior has black rubber paint and glossy black tiles in the main space, with white quilted walls in the fitting rooms. The all black exterior does not have traditional window displays but instead the large glass wall shows through to an LED screen in the back of the shop. Inspired by his friend Nick Knight, Pugh is hoping one day the screen might connect to a live feed camera in his studio. Pugh has no immediate plans to open additional retail stores.

The designer also denied recent rumours that he is heading to Thierry Mugler: “There is no truth to them at all. Rumours are rumours. It’s not going to happen.”

Pugh not in talks with Gucci

Found via Vogue UK:

Speculation has begun over who will take on the creative director role at Alexander McQueen – but contrary to rumour, it won’t be Gareth Pugh.

“Further to speculative reports, Gareth Pugh is not in discussions with Gucci Group about a creative director role at Alexander McQueen,” clarified a statement from the designer’s PR this morning.

According to, Sunderland-born Pugh was thought to be the designer PPR, the company in charge of the Alexander McQueen label, wanted to head up the brand – of which it owns 51 per cent.

Like McQueen, Pugh has a reputation for his theatrical creations – which took to the catwalk last week as part of Paris Fashion Week.

The best of Paris Fashion Week

And that’s all folks, Paris fashion week is over and wasn’t it amazing? Here’s a review of the best the city of romance had to offer:

Alexander McQueen

See a full report: here


See a full report: here


If you’ve been shopping recently you can see the effects of Balmania everywhere, you can’t move for a shoulder pad and those sequin body-con dresses are sitting tight in every high street window. Having carved such a strong and signature look for the last two seasons, where was Decarnin going to go next?

“It’s warrior women and the military with a mix of different times and a touch of Mad Max,” the designer told the International Herald Tribune, concisely summing up the metal mesh dresses, medallion-dotted military blazers, vests and T-shirts with rips and holes in them as though the models had been caught in a crossfire, and sequin carnage camouflage overlays.

I couldn’t help thinking though that Balmain were paying homage to themselves by creating a collection similar to the last two popular seasons; we’ve already seen the military jacket’s and the studded dresses. Obviously, I thought this collection was amazing, I think Balmain are amazing, but perhaps this was just because I’d already seen and adored this collection twice before.

Gareth Pugh

See a full report: here

Hussein Chalayan

Hilary Alexander wrote of Chalayan’s collection: “Navy and white were key in a collection which evoked the Côte d’Azur of the Fifties”. I felt this best summerised a collection which was made for some resort in Deauville or Havana, or any other playground of the rich and idle in the Fifties.

Accompanied by the Italian rumba band, Farniente (which translates to “doing nothing”), Chalayan proceeded to describe the meaning behind each outfit, his concept was the fact that idleness has replaced the ancient tenets of a religious society, I don’t really agree but each to their own and Hussein Chalayan is amazing.

The collection itself began with tailored short suits which had dramatically cutaway sides, and were accessorised with swimming hats and sci-fi sunglasses propped on top like goggles. There was black or white column dresses with circles cut out of the back, which had a sophisticated elegance, and came with wide-brimmed matching hats.

The beautiful jersey dresses had wide, shiny belts and high leg splits and seemed more Chalayan-esque, especially when they featured fake pointed (removable), breasts beneath. Blue and white striped versions had Riviera elegance but then neoprene jackets and bodices with floaty chiffon sleeves and floor-length skirts were a consummate example of Chalayan’s combination of scientific interest with his designer vision.

White goddess gowns, in stretch jersey, featured hands in fabric or plastic, clasping the halter-neck straps, perhaps underlying the grip materialism has on life in the 21st century.


Alber Elbaz presented, what must surely be, his finest collection with what he calls the “new minimalist” look.

The show opened with a black dress boasting a huge ruffle around one shoulder and cinched in at the waist, this was followed by beautifully shaped Tuxedo dresses that were styled with a single black glove. Strapless minis were drawn in at the back to produce a vertical spine of fabric, while taffeta dresses of red and rose pink had a single puffed shoulder and fell in plump swathes from nude under slips. However, nude and black silk dresses and jump suits were the most elegant, single-shouldered offerings of all.

The finale of heavily embellished jumpsuits and dresses (and one show-stopping pair of liquid gold trousers) was an appropriate celebratory end to a show that celebrated a sophisticated female form.

Louis Vuitton

Marc Jacob’s geek chic collection for Louis Vuitton was a melting pot of travellers, hikers, skate kids, dolls and cartoons, with an overall sporty mix of cycling shorts, backpacks and bum bags. Girl after girl travelled down the catwalk wearing gigantic fluffy afro wigs of every colour but throughout the course of this ugly duckling show, the models slowly transformed into enviably sassy and totally original stylistic statements: unconventionally, uniquely cool.

I did like this collection but I think it was just too busy for me, I like my designs to be sleek and the clash of so many colours made it hard for me to actually see the designs, hey, I like my colours to be basic.

Little mini dresses (everything came above the knee) were made with panels of sparkly pink, green or blue brocades. Strips of denim there were tasseled and beaded to match the fur and bauble-strewn accessories of the huge rucksack bags and sandals they were worn with.

Sporty white mesh dresses were woven with neon laces or blue tie-dyed ribbons, with a touch of lamé in gorgeous cropped jackets, with drawstring waistbands or glittering hot pant-aloons, added glamour.
Vogue wrote that they were “pleased to see a younger Vuitton girl after the sex kittens of autumn/winter and the tribal-inspired glamazons of spring/summer 2009, it made us start gossiping immediately about who he’s planning to pick for the ad campaign.

Mui Mui

Fashion may well be fascinated with all things Eighties right now but Miuccia Prada has her sartorial interests vested in the Seventies which, today, proved part inspiration for the designer’s Mui Mui collection.

“It is fresh – about how innocence can survive in this world,” explained the designer to the International Herald Tribune. And so cat, daisy, puppy and swallow prints playfully adorned super-cropped jackets and boleros that barely covered breasts beneath (though the models were wearing shirts of contrasting cute print), narrow-leg trousers stopping just shy of the ankles – which were gripped with golden daisy or raspberry bird print boots – and sweet pleated school skirts. The palette was of midnight magic in soft shades of pale lilac, pink, black, indigo and later tan, beige and gold.

There was something youthful and innocent about this collection; Jean Shrimpton lashes and long tousled braided hair made for Miu Miu’s Lolita girls, who stepped out in beautifully high and stacked platform Mary Janes in golden yellow, baby blue and bright cerise.

Sonia Rykiel

Last week fashion was busy getting excited over the prospect of Sonia Rykiel bringing her sassy Parisian chic to the shores of Britain via a new collaboration with high street giant H&M, this week the industry is excited by the prospect of Rykiel’s spring/ summer 2010 collection.

Models danced, yes danced, their way down the catwalk in long length padded gilets, belted at the waist, transforming them into the chicest of outdoor attire; in sheer black stockings andquilted turquoise brassieres with matching French knickers and sugarplum pink sheer shirts.

They pranced in bobbly woven cardigans and in neat little blazer and skirt suits; in dinky striped tops in shades of yellow and blue and cerise; and in transparent shiny macs with emblazoned “SR” bodies beneath.

And they jived in silky pajama suits splashed in cornflower blue; star-dotted sheer chemises (that showed off big knickers beneath), gathered at the waist and cut away at the cleavage; and Forties tea dresses with falling flowers wafting about their skirts.

Oh, what fun it is to be a Rykiel girl.

Paris Fashion Week – Gareth Pugh

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.

Gareth Pugh S/S 2010 Film Prequel

It was always going to be hard to know what to expect from Gareth Pugh’s second film, directed by Ruth Hogben, which was presented last night at New York’s Milk Studios as part of M.A.C. and Milk’s collaboration this season. It could not possibly have been a fashion film given that his show in Paris was going to be taking place in a few weeks time. Instead, in the loading bay, on a giant suspended cube, four extracted ideas of the collection were presented on the four facets, representing elements of fire, wind, earth and water. As new-age as that sounds, it needs to be seen to be fully understood (film now live on SHOWstudio) as even Pugh admitted it was a hard piece to describe in words. For those familiar with Pugh’s work, it is an enticing ensemble piece that does exactly what it set out to do; prequel the show. For those not so familiar, they might have taken away an essence or a mood of what Pugh’s aesthetic is all about.

Dazed and Confused spoke to Pugh and Hogben about their second collaboration.