Monday, January 26, 2009


gareth pugh FW0910/reuters via daylife

“We have to sell the dream before we can sell the clothes” noted Gareth Pugh prior to his first Paris-staged womenswear show in September. Last night in Paris, with his first menswear collection, it was a Gothic nightmare Pugh was selling this time around. In the face of a financial apocalypse, with retailers folding right, left and centre, while others report gains – in the case of London’s Browns boutiques, a 200percent increase in the online shoe category in 2008, the more extreme the design, the better – Pugh’s attention whore couture shone like a beacon in a fortnight of predominantly play-it-safe, predictable mens clothes. The closing show on Sunday, it was bookended by the menswear season and the kickoff of the haute couture collections, which commence in a few hours' time. And the front-row presence of LVMH director Delphine Arnault has fuelled inevitable speculation that Pugh might be the latest Brit enfant terrible in the sights of the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate.

gareth pugh FW0910/reuters via daylife

Typically dark and brooding, Pugh’s debut menswear show was a hookup between Mad Max and the Marquis de Sade.

Highlights included button-down leather trenchcoats, nail-studded singlets and blousons, a shaggy goat fur gilet, a pewter chainmail-like mesh shirt over matching skinny pewter trousers, extravagant funnel-neck coats - one whose diamond patchwork leather applique echoed the trademark geodesic armour of Pugh's womenswear - and slashed skinny jeans or leggings that were so distressed, they resembled the shrouds of a cadre of post-apocalyptic zombies.

With longtime collaborator Nicola Formichetti on styling, the collection was worked back with multistrap knee-high biker boots, enigmatic cocktail hats by Brit milliner Stephen Jones and ghoulish makeup.

Pugh's Gothboy cast included, if frockwriter is not mistaken, fashion’s new dark prince, Australian Jethro Cave:

gareth pugh FW0910/reuters via daylife

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