To this point I have avoided shows that are more esoteric and artistic; you know, the kind where form completely obliterates function. I gave in, though, on Gareth Pugh this afternoon because, not unlike Vivienne Westwood, he really does present an interesting collection and always manages, somehow, to pare the looks down from the bizarre to something actually wearable by the time they hit stores six months later. If Pugh didn’t have such a good track record, I probably wouldn’t be quite so enthused. Part of the game, though, is trying to guess what elements will be retained and which won’t.
Here’s a safe guess: the wind up keys probably won’t be part of the final collection.
Living dolls can either be a fun concept, or very creepy depending on one’s perspective. Pugh really is going for the fun side, though, and to a large extent it doesn’t take too terribly much imagination to see how these looks could translate into something you might actually wear. What works is the incredible layering that allows fabrics to billow with even the slightest breeze, or at least look as though they might. White and bone is the dominant color palette at play here and the resulting effect is that many of the looks come off with a bit of an angelic feel. I’ve already heard one very astonished lady say that she wanted to be buried in a particular look from this collection so that she would already be appropriately dressed upon her arrival in heaven. While that perspective might be a bit presumptuous, it is totally understandable as the amount of soft fleece, sheer chiffon, and light weight metallics in this collection border on the excessive.
Then, there are the looks that might be representative of what would happen if one tried making a dress of sticky notes. At first I thought the pieces were leather, but its a more plastic-based fabric that allows for greater rigidity while still managing to come off fairly soft. Watching the little pieces bounce as the model walks past was a little like watching young leaves flutter in a spring breeze, but this is the wrong season for that, isn’t it?
Before the collection is done there are PVC pieces that look as though they came from the future, metallic creations quite possibly inspired by duct work, and one top so sheer you might have to look more than once to be certain the model is wearing anything at all. Each of these are very fun to look at and to imagine how they might be modified for eventual retail sale.
Pugh gets very creative with what appears to be a plastic drop cloth for the final gown. One has to be impressed at just how masterfully he has taken such a common looking material and turned it into a work of art. By folding and twisting the fabric around and through itself, I’m not sure there is so much as a single stitch in the entire piece. This is wearable origami! Well, sort of.
Fashion needs imagination like this to push it forward. While one won’t see any of these exact looks coming to their store, this is what fuels great pieces of clothing that really stand out. Gareth Pugh is a master of costuming and design and this is a very wonderful and fun expression of his talent.