by Penny Martin .

Gareth keeps it in check

His ubiquity in the press meant that Gareth Pugh's show this afternoon would come under the greatest scrutiny yet. Just as well, then, that it was also his greatest collection yet. With a more restrained set design (look no balloons!), all attention was on the 24 year old's burgeoning technical prowess. The concise sequence of what could only be called 'looks' -for they were nothing if not visually arresting- dispensed with the crowd-pleasing clownery and pneumatic antics of previous seasons, focusing both literally and figuratively on his future.

Like a sequence of alien characters from a children's sci-fi series (Transformers meets He-Man, in fashion speak?), Pugh's models proposed a series of extreme and outlandish solutions to the core components of a regular fashion collection. His standard silhouette -a puffed up, pyramidal upper body, propped on top of pin-thin legs- was exaggerated to monster proportions, with American footballer-wide shoulders atop what looked like latex-clad stilts. The effect was of late 80s Mugler at his theatrical finest. Materials were equally space age, the chequerboard, black PVC and foil pattern from Autumn/Winter carried through to wool frockcoats that were perhaps surprisingly transferrable to daywear and some that were less so, fashioned as they were out of black and white plastic armadillo scales.

With Pugh, we have come to expect the appearance of trash culture icons rendered as precious fashion objects (the jointed clowns, the poodles, the balloons). Any such references were were honed into imaginative, albeit peculiar, 'accessories' - for instance, the inflated, leather water wings or the (actually very beautiful) faceted perspex pincer arms- but they were perhaps more lovingly constructed than of previous years. If it weren't for the gruesome make-up (were they giant sores on the side of the face or extra terrestrial eyes?), one might say Gareth Pugh was refining his wonderfully gruesome fashion vision. The proof was in the after-show journo chat: I overheard one esteemed broadsheet hack murmur, wistfully: 'there were actually a couple of things I might consider buying'...

5 comments

  1. al.wproduct
    20:45 19 Sep 2006
    walking, "leigh bowery... good music counts.. silver back fortune.."
  2. k24
    00:10 20 Sep 2006
    It just so happens that anonymity offers an opportunity to be honest, with others as much as with myself.
    There is no visible evidence of ground braking talent here. The visual aspect is so reminiscent of L. Bowery that it seems that the designer went through the late artist’s closet and all he managed to come up with are somewhat commercial versions of his costumes that cannot even be labelled as inspirations.
    The bottom line is that once all the sculptural elements, that look like props for Italian Vogue, are stripped from the presentation; we end up with nothing but pieces like a cut up leather mini dress that’s good enough for 1st year university project.
    The collection as a whole is sad and dark, not because the designer is trying to take you to that secret place in his heart, but for a mere shock value-a visual tactic that fails in this particular case. It’s not personal, and what is worst it does not inspire.
    It’s a sad day that the same people who stood up to applaud John Galliano’s Orient Express and McQueen’s Black Show, are now made to believe in this as a highlight of the London Fashion week.
  3. badrap
    16:40 20 Sep 2006
    Anonymity also offers and opportunity for the opinion to have no context, no value, no substance, to base it upon.
  4. Mook
    14:41 21 Sep 2006
    And you are?
  5. idbigcheese
    18:40 3 Oct 2006
    Gareth's dad?
    Fetish for the catwalk...again.
    Check out House of Harlot, much better.

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