Something about Gareth Pugh brings out the philosopher in his collaborators. Soundsmith Matthew Stone was talking about "the archetypal human need for religion." Makeup artist Alex Box was brooding on the penitence of nuns.
Pugh himself shied away from anything directly tied to the dinner party's favorite conversation killer, but maybe that's because he felt his designs had done the talking for him.
The fiercesome insularity of his clothes suggested a world where women had dispensed with the fripperies of civilization—i.e., men—in favor of a faith in female power. Nothing as blandly noxious as girl power, mind you. More a kind of cannibalistic, Amazonian, mutant force. And that sure made for a great fashion show.
Petals of black had scarcely stopped cascading from the ceiling when Joan Smalls marched onto the catwalk in a yeti shag and Aztec headdress, like the high priestess of a techno death cult. Furriness and fringing in multiple variations followed, creating a liquid, indefinable silhouette.
When Pugh drew that silhouette back to the body, he used snakeskin on a jersey backing, a sinuously elemental effect which automatically evoked the poor misbegotten serpent who tried to wise up Adam and Eve to their state of unblissful ignorance in Eden. But if Eve took the rap for Adam's fall, Pugh was determined to restore some semblance of her dignity.
His women were battlefield-worthy in their funnel necks and spiked shoulders. And their enemy? Could it be God Himself, textured through Stone's soundtrack by Twitter voices saying His name? The conceit was an audacious one, but it's hard to ignore the niggle that Pugh needs something bold at this point in his career to knock him up to the next level. Alien beauty has a shelf life, after all.
PARIS, February 29, 2012
By Tim Blanks
By Tim Blanks