The omens were in favor for Gareth Pugh’s show, of course Cher was in attendance which seemed to stir quite a fuss and it seems that the singer is somewhat of a lucky black cat for the London based designer who produced a great show that seemed to fuse the old Gareth with the new Pugh of last season.
Pugh’s linear, graphic style—you can have any color as long as it’s black, white, or gray—was back. Yet it was seen with that slightly softer romanticism of the season before; there was a prolonged section of deep blue in this collection, which from what we’ve known hasn’t even been seen from him, as well as an enveloping sense of forceful femininity. As the show began, Pugh’s structured, rigid silhouettes were mixed with a late-Victorian. A stiff, stark, floor-length funnel-necked dress was softened somewhat by gold embroidery of branches around its edges. Yet, as the woman in white was gradually replaced by the woman in black (like a suspenseful thriller), any thoughts of ethereality were swiftly banished. “We had found this information about a tribe of women called the Asgarda,” Pugh said after his show. “They’re amazing and inspiring. They want autonomy from men, and they live in the Carpathian Mountains.” The influence of this contemporary band of extremely tough women, who take their cues from the Amazons, filed into the collection, knocking any notions of mere costume drama out of it (which is usually seen in his collection). “It is about both fight and flight this time,” said Pugh. The standout looks were based on simple T-shirt shapes with full-length skirts, which had an ease that was new for the designer. They were a direct reference to the Asgarda, but also an artistic nod to mid-century couture, fusing a new and an old sensibility for Pugh that compliments him in the best of ways.
In Pugh’s complete change of last season; you couldn’t help but miss a little of that giddy London fun of his earlier shows and collections (and a little bit of the drama). Today it was back, on an ultra-bitchy but ultra-sophisticated level, in his tour de force use of garbage bags. Never has a trash bag been put to more dramatic and romantic use than in this collection’s finale looks (love trash bags). Specially chosen for their very cheapness—the texture was almost raffialike—they were carefully crafted, woven into astonishing dresses that had an extravagant feel of topiary. “There isn’t a bin bag left in E8!” laughed Pugh. These particular ones were selected from the Dalston one-pound shop near his studio in London. Trash transformed into divine treasure.