by Alex Fury .

PARIS FASHION WEEK: Gareth Pugh

Evidently, Gareth Pugh's invite wasn't just an exercise in clever graphicism: his entire S/S 2009 collection, from two-toned wedge shoes to laser-cut eyelashes, was rendered in black and white. Or more precisely, light and dark. In a venue flooded with light, thanks to an uncompromising installation of fluorescent tubes, his models themselves were turned into excercises in illumination and shade The front of every outfit was white, the back black, neatly split down the side. This was the clever glue that Pugh used to tie together disparate influences within the collection, which on the whole seemed to be the court of Elizabeth I circa the year 3000. Oversized Shakespearean ruffs and ruffle-fronted doublets stepped out alongside stiffened and quilted body-armour, part King Arthur, part fencing school, part Star Wars. There were even shades of the Sydney Opera House in the arching, achitectonic shapes of stiffened lips of fabric reticulated around the body like some form of futuristic insect's thorax. As you can see, it's difficult to run through all the themes and images that Pugh's collection touched on, although it did revist - and revise - many a theme he's shown in London. He's done monochrome, abstracted shape, overblown ruffs, interlocking leather applique like a cross between sequins and fish-scales - but as befits his Paris debut, they were all ripe to be shown again. New were signs of his aesthetic softening slightly for the real world and even nodding to the idea of the Spring season. Witness leggings reflecting those exoskeletal protrusions in soft rivulets of cloth, jackets executed in both his trademark warrior-woman armour and lightweight silk, flowing wool dirndl-length coats and ruffled chiffon blouses (yes! Chiffon at Pugh!). While these were certainly brave and new for Pugh, what was really interesting was the finesse with which all of these clothes were executed - the fright-club make-up was gone, as were the jokey Tranny catwalk appearances, dodgy sex-shop shoes and occasional bodged seam. In their place was a coherent, cohesive and (dare we say it) commercial collection that still managed to make the hair on your neck stand to attention. Isn't that just what we come to Paris for?

2 comments

  1. GalileosUniverse
    19:06 27 Sep 2008
    Looks absolutely out of this world ! ... sublime !
  2. marian
    11:47 28 Sep 2008
    i think alex has done a really fab job with his show reviews. I have enjoyed his fair and educated opinions. go alex! whop!

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