Fall 2009: Pugh has Paris Fashion Week on pins and needles (video)
Avant-garde London-based designer Gareth Pugh, known for his intricate geometric designs and out-there, envelope-pushing pieces, closed out the fall-winter 2009-10 men's shows in Paris earlier this evening, by debuting his men's collection here.
I'm still trying to get my brain wrapped around everything I saw; there were black, patent leather trench coats, side-buttoning tuxedos that recalled Goth matador costumes, shredded and sliced jeans, cropped jackets, silver metallic fabrics that look like leather chain mail, fur and silver, shard-like epaulet details.
Some pieces were embellished with carpet tacks in a Pinhead from "Hellraiser" meets futuristic porcupine sort of way. There were heavy, black, multi-buckled boots that rose nearly to the knee, umpteen black and white triangle designs (a recurring motif that cropped up in silver trousers and trenches as well), that conjured a sharp, precise, and imposing future, or something sliced out a double helix — except when it came to the quilted puffer vests and long puffy jackets. (I'm convinced it's nearly impossible to look ominous in a quilted nylon vest.)
The agressive Goth severity reminded me a little bit of Rick Owens' own men's runway debut in Paris two days earlier (not surprisingly, Owens mentored Pugh). And like the Owens show, I managed to capture it on video, although facing into the spotlight didn't help matters and, in reviewing my handiwork, I realize I did a better job of showcasing the people (and fire extinguisher) across from me at the Palais de Tokyo venue.
The first time I saw a Cubist painting I was mesmerized and a bit confused — and my curiosity was piqued. And I feel the same way about Pugh, and can't wait to see what he has up his black leather, pin-studded sleeve. The men's side of the business is oft-said to be "an evolution, not a revolution," but someday this show may be looked back on as the shot heard 'round the world, especially since this morning, the (UK) Daily Telegraph website asks: "Could London's avant garde Gareth Pugh be in the LVMH sights?' (referring to the holding company that owns or has stakes in a wide swath of luxury brands notably Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Dior Homme, which all showed here this week).
If the answer is "yes," it would be a real Cinderella story for the 27-year-old who graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London only in 2003 and mounted his first London Fashion Week show just three years ago.
— Adam Tschorn
Photos of Gareth Pugh men's runway debut in Paris, Jan. 25, 2009, by Jonas Gustavsson; video below shot by Adam Tschorn.