The soundtrack to Gareth Pugh's latest collection began with the intonation 'Dreams are my speciality' - a suitable opener for a man who is responsible for more of fashion's dreamlike visions (good and bad) than anyone else in the past half-a-decade, but not for this eminently realistic and down-to-earth collection. Rather than gimp-masked models teetering on platforms, we had chic and timely touches of thirties Weimar Berlin, both in the styles themselves - wide, louche trousers, slender chain-hung dresses and that raised shoulder-line - and the blurring of gender boundaries, hair slicked back on man and woman alike. There was also more than a hint of futurism, albeit the future seen from the past: a dystopian vision of 2030 from 1930 via Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Whereas other designers have been flirting with these shapes and themes, Pugh inevitably had his own slant on 'trends'. His silhouettes were articulated, reticulated and corrugated like a combination of man and machine, topstitched and ridged in geometric chevrons, sometimes of alternating textures, transparencies or colours - well, black and grey. As usual, this was an almost monochrome Pugh experiment in shape, volume and shade rather than colour, continuing his explorations of exaggerated, extreme shapes in the harsh lines of thick, foam-like leather-bonded jackets, and following through from last season's looser, freer shapes with fluttering raw-edged layers of georgette with a certain military panache.
The new in Pugh's line this season was, conversely, the old. Instead of the shock of the novel, we were seduced by the familiar - Pugh revisited lines he introduced over the past few years, reworked them and sent them out again. Those angular black leather jackets with pointed and topstitched peplums were remnants of his attenuated Star Wars suiting, the dangling chains come from his Hellraiser nail studding and wicked way with hardware, while his strips and straps of opacity and transparency have been evident throughout his career. Over the past couple of seasons showing in Paris, Pugh has perfected his means of production, polished his silhouettes, fit and finishes. In short, he's reinvented his raw early work as a true luxury product - and hence, this collection can be seen as something of a greatest hits rather than a new release. That soundtrack Pugh opened his show with was taken from 'Legend'. The boy's well on the path to becoming one himself.