Prior to Gareth Pugh's Pitti Immagine debut last night, we were afforded the opportunity to speak with the designer himself and to inspect the collection up close. A clutch of the garments showcased in Pugh's latest cinematic collaboration with Ruth Hogben were on display - a slither of brilliant azure chiffon attached to a classic little black dress, a strong-shouldered jacket with dramatic flared peplum that put one in mind of Papal vestments, and a glittering carapace of golden fishscale paillettes.
As stated in my review, there are definite and intentional echos of Pugh past, sometimes reworked entirely and sometimes just recoloured. In any respect, the change of context made them seem fresh and exciting - and exciting in an entirely new way. The zippered fronts to those stiff ecclesiastical coats are classic Pugh details, but never before has their cruciform shape been so evident, while the simple act of gilding his oversized polyhedra suddenly made you ally them with the soaring spires of Florentine architecture, rather than the sinister projections of some of intergalactic monster.
In a similar vein, Pugh's shredder evening-gown, lacerated as if lovingly stroked by Freddy Krueger, pooling into tattered loops of fabric around the ankles and topped with a golden feather headdress, had a decadent touch of fin de siècle glamour about it. If the Marchesa Casati jumped in a time-machine and had nothing to wear in twenty-second century Florence, she'd undoubtedly make a pit-stop chez Pugh for that number. A high compliment in my book - although Gareth may prefer the Krueger reference.