View Full Version : Gareth Pugh

10-19-2006, 07:13 PM


http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00090m.jpg http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00110m.jpg</p>

http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00060m.jpg http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00070m.jpg</p>

http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00100m.jpg http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00120m.jpg</p>

http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00080m.jpg http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00050m.jpg</p>

http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00040m.jpg http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/S2007RTW/PUGH/RUNWAY/00030m.jpg</p>



10-19-2006, 07:44 PM
I think I had a bad blind date that dressed like this. It&#39;s like a cross between Tron and 50s diner kitchen floor. Ironically I think this collection is awesome! You should post this on SF. They&#39;d get a kick out of this.

10-19-2006, 08:15 PM
haha i can only imagine...</p>

apparently a lot of it is made out of pvc too, haha!

10-19-2006, 10:29 PM
I think I had a bad blind date that dressed like this. It&#39;s like a cross between Tron and 50s diner kitchen floor. Ironically I think this collection is awesome! You should post this on SF. They&#39;d get a kick out of this.

lucky you!</p>

I find this creepy but awesome. I would have loved to see the show in person.</p>

I don&#39;t really see the Tron thing though...reminds me more of those scary flying things in Lord of the Rings. More fantasy than sci-fi.


10-19-2006, 11:09 PM
I don&#39;t really see the Tron thing though...



10-20-2006, 03:02 AM
I absolutely loved this show; I remember feeling an instant surge of relief upon first seeing the pictures, after the mind-numbing embarassment that was NY Fashion Week.</p>

In case anyone missed the news, some version of these will in fact be produced, courtesy of Ms. Rick Owens:</p><div class="date">
Sunday,October 01, 200609:40 PM</div>
<h3 class="entry-header">CASH FROM CHAOS</h3>

<div class="entry-content">
<div class="entry-body">

that, all those who bewail the beyond-bonkers unwearability of London&#39;s
Gareth Pugh. He has found, it was confirmed today, a business-brained
Parisian backer. She is Michele Lamy, Rick Owens&#39; consort and &eacute;minence
noire, who, for all her gold teeth and tattoos, has an excellent track
record in translating the apparently scary designs of tall, pale young
men into commercial sellers. Pugh wafted into the front row at Owens&#39;
show last night, and said, &quot;I came over a month ago, and Michele picked
out all the best bits I&#39;ve done for the past four seasons. She&#39;s taken
all of my homemade efforts and is making them in cashmere, leather, and
mink. Major stuff.&quot; Added Lamy, &quot;He asked to work for us when we began
at Revillon. I heard his little voice on the phone, and Rick said,
&#39;He&#39;ll probably be a fat little English boy.&#39;&quot; Turned out they liked
his long-streak-of-nothing look in the flesh&mdash;and the
checkerboard-and-inflatable collections he&#39;s been doing since. Sales
start this week.</p>

&mdash;<span style="font-size: 11px">Sarah Mower</span>style.com</p>



10-20-2006, 03:14 AM
Wow, I wonder what the stuff they produce will look like. I just read an interview with him in Anthem (or maybe I-D) and one of the interesting things he said was about a song he really loved that had no words, and how he could relate to that as a designer without clothes, but I guess that isn&#39;t the case anymore. This collection is really out of this world, makes me think of club kids in Party Monster.

10-20-2006, 10:19 AM
LOL! ok, I see now....very clever eyes you&#39;ve got there, djrajio.

Well, that makes it even better! </p>

I am dying to see what they produce--sounds like it will be $$$$</p>

10-20-2006, 10:26 AM
This shit freaks me out. It&#39;s good theater, though!

09-26-2008, 11:59 AM
Q&A with Gareth Pugh

Q&A with Gareth Pugh
by Katya Foreman
Posted Friday September 26, 2008
From WWD Issue 09/26/2008 (http://www.wwd.com/wwd-publications/wwd/2008-09-26/)
Add Note (javascript:void(0);)
http://media.wwd.com/images/processed/wwd/2008/09/26/portrait/02-tout/q-a-pugh1.jpg (javascript:wwd.slideshow.start('article','1802932 ','1802933'))
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
Gareth Pugh

PARIS — Garbage bag coats, safety-pin dresses and a stole crafted from red-eyed white mink mice are just some of the outr&#233; handiwork dished up by underground British designer Gareth Pugh during his past five seasons spent storming the runways at London Fashion Week. Shifting gears, Saturday will mark the avant-garde 27-year-old’s grand Paris debut, a move financed by the 200,000 euro ($294,000 at current exchange) in prize-money awarded to him this June as winner of the city’s Andam Award. In July, Pugh, who is distributed in 22 doors internationally, including Barneys New York and Colette in Paris, established his company, Hard and Shiny, with Michelle Lamy, who owns 49 percent of the business. Pugh’s collection is mainly produced by the same factory as Rick Owens, who is married to Lamy, based in Concordia, Italy. Here, Pugh sits down with a cup of tea and a cigarette to discuss his outlook.

WWD: You’ve come from Sunderland, in northeast England, to Paris. How does it feel?

Gareth Pugh: Really nerve-racking. I was fine before I got here but now it’s really starting to dawn on me how big it is. In London, a lot of your designer peers are your friends. Here it’s a different ball game.

WWD: What does Paris have to offer that London doesn’t?

G.P.: Here I get to power my business forward. It seems that London is never a destination, but more of an afterthought, so a lot of my buyers don’t get to see my shows. In London you also get stuck with certain labels. Paris sets a different tone, it feels like I’m stepping up a gear.

WWD: The Andam prize enabled you to show here this season. Are fashion prizes helpful in the long run?

G.P.: “If the prize didn’t exist, I would still be showing in London. Everything has a risk to it, but I think it’s necessary to give yourself a good kick up the ass. I’m not saying London was easy, but it was comfortable, familiar territory. It’s nice to have a new challenge. I like to compare it to getting off the merry-go-round and climbing onto a roller-coaster.

WWD: What’s the difference between what we see on the catwalk and what ends up on the shop floor?

G.P.: This season, the sales collections will form a big part of the catwalk show, what you see is what you get. It’s expensive for a factory to produce a whole new line, and we’ve had to push them to make things as a lot of the pieces are labor-intensive. I’ve been going over there every weekend and I’m happy with the results. Nine of the show pieces are very “me” outfits, featuring lots of handiwork, that will be sold by special order.

WWD: Any collaborations for spring?

G.P.: Yes, Judy Blame is working on some light, airy jewelry pieces and I’ll also be using some hand-made glove designs by Simon Azoulay.

WWD: Any new categories?

G.P.: Yes, I’ll be commercializing my first shoe this season.

WWD: Is London, and its scene, very much a part of your identity?

G.P.: “I’ve come up with a lot of people. I went to [Central Saint Martin’s] with Christopher Kane, I’ve known Henry Holland since back when he was a fashion editor at Smash Hits [a British music magazine for teens], and now suddenly we’re all known. It’s not one person that creates all of the hype. I think it’s terrible that they’re shortening London Fashion Week just as it’s taking off. It really deserves more recognition.

WWD: Is it important for an emerging designer to do a catwalk show?

G.P.: For me it’s really important as it’s the essence of what I do. It’s like selling a perfume; we have to sell the dream before we can sell the clothes. Having said that, I had sponsoring for all of my London shows, and I plan to make the Andam money stretch over two shows, even if it’s supposed to go on one. I could have done seven London shows out of that prize. You have to be clever with what you do as I’m well aware that people can be interested today and tomorrow be, “who’s Gareth Pugh?” Andy Warhol would always complain about taxi fares when he was a millionaire. I think it’s good to have business sense. It’s not like I’m going to spend my dad’s yearly income on hiring one model.”

WWD: Why have you chosen to show at the Palais de Tokyo?

G.P.: We wanted to show somewhere quite tight but not teeny-tiny and off the beaten track. I quite liked the idea of having my girls stomping round a really classic French salon, but maybe we’ll leave that for next season.”

09-26-2008, 12:24 PM
really looking forward to his collection... maybe more than any of the others.

09-26-2008, 12:40 PM
it's exciting to see how far he's come in such a short period of time! good for him. [thumbup]

thanks for posting, faust.

09-26-2008, 12:59 PM
I cant help but admit that i like this... i really wasn't very keen on past collections, found them a bit clich&#233;d .. reckon the move to Paris was a good choice though, hanging around with the joke that is Henry Holland cant do you any good!!

09-26-2008, 01:00 PM
rick store in paris has some g pugh stuff,that they did together--totally chik and wearable....for women only...

09-26-2008, 01:20 PM
rick store in paris has some g pugh stuff,that they did together--totally chik and wearable....for women only...

PUH-LEEEAAASE someone dig up some pictures!?
And I love Pugh, both the far-out sculptural pieces and the wearables/cooperations. I ADORE the skyscraper-high platform docs he made

09-26-2008, 03:33 PM
it's exciting to see how far he's come in such a short period of time! good for him. [thumbup]

thanks for posting, faust.

You are welcome. I think he's definitely the one to watch. The task for him will be to translate the theatrics of the runway into interesting wearable clothes.

09-26-2008, 04:04 PM
I've always wanted one of the Pugh tanks from seven. by the time I convinced myself to pay 300-600 for one, the store had their sale and sold out, boo.


there's always that slashed leather dress.. [ninja]

09-26-2008, 04:10 PM
You should check out the stuff at Barneys.

09-26-2008, 04:33 PM
secretside, if it's any consolation for you not getting your hands on the tanks, the materials that GP uses for the tanks and the more "basic" pieces are pretty cheap polyester blends[ninja]
I have a top that is cut beautifully but the fabric actually creates static. I recommend the higher-end pieces if you must buy GP, or if the print is out-of-this-world, enough to make you overlook the fabric!

09-26-2008, 04:55 PM
I've had a dress of his in my hands in antwerp, the fabric wasnt all that and the price was waaaay overboard.

Hes showing in paris this season, I'm quite excited to see what he does, I love his shows.

09-26-2008, 05:15 PM
secretside, if it's any consolation for you not getting your hands on the tanks, the materials that GP uses for the tanks and the more "basic" pieces are pretty cheap polyester blends[ninja]
I have a top that is cut beautifully but the fabric actually creates static. I recommend the higher-end pieces if you must buy GP, or if the print is out-of-this-world, enough to make you overlook the fabric!

I think I remember one of your waywt's with that top a while ago! that mindfuck illusion one, correct? looked great. [blush]

it's a pity to hear about his fabric issue. that slashed leather looked good, too. damn.

09-26-2008, 05:57 PM
Gareth Pugh for doc martens platforms:

It's like a perverse SM-ballon animal in doc martens. How can you NOT love it :D

(from fall 2006)

09-27-2008, 02:01 AM
secretside, if it's any consolation for you not getting your hands on the tanks, the materials that GP uses for the tanks and the more "basic" pieces are pretty cheap polyester blends[ninja]
I have a top that is cut beautifully but the fabric actually creates static. I recommend the higher-end pieces if you must buy GP, or if the print is out-of-this-world, enough to make you overlook the fabric!

what's an example of his out-of-this-world prints? certainly don't see anything here that's not printed on $20 shirts.

09-27-2008, 03:31 AM
I never really bothered about womens fashion.. but when i saw roisin murphys - overpowered video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlFjf1pWk2c)
i sort of feel in love with pugh.

I dunno who can pull this off, seems like u really need some strong personality.

I do love this collection, especially considering how young he is and what a long way he still can go...

I am sick of designers playing around with "classical female forms" or "inspired by the careless 20ies" or other shit you read on new collections ..or ..dunno.. miucca (even tho she is one of the better efforts) reading a van gogh article while dumping a load.

09-27-2008, 04:05 AM
The best part is that you can easily use his clothes for more mundane things like cleaning the kitchen or cooking (http://i38.tinypic.com/2dkcozc.jpg)

09-27-2008, 02:07 PM
monsieur pugh has done it again!

SS09 (http://flickr.com/photos/juliptulip/sets/72157607536218828/)

09-27-2008, 02:10 PM
thanks, Secretside!

unbelievable. this guy is something else...

09-27-2008, 02:28 PM
Some pics from S/S 2009:
LOTS of hi-res here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/juliptulip/sets/72157607536218828/

04-03-2009, 04:31 AM
The best part is that you can easily use his clothes for more mundane things like cleaning the kitchen or cooking (http://i38.tinypic.com/2dkcozc.jpg)

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=l_c133a768e79ebe68276191cb22f2246e.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/l_c133a768e79ebe68276191cb22f2246e.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

04-03-2009, 04:39 AM
her are some back stage shots from the retrospective show he done at the V&A museum in london

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP7.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP7.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

the man himself and his friend/stylist katie shillingford of DAZED

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=15062007006.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/15062007006.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP12.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP12.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP10.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP10.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP11.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP11.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP6.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP6.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP5.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP5.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP3.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP15.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP15.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=15062007.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/15062007.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

04-03-2009, 04:41 AM
<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP15.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP15.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP16.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP16.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/?action=view&current=GP9.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q284/SHYEPOSER/GP9.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

04-16-2009, 08:17 PM
Anyone know if RO nyc will be carrying Pugh like the Paris and London stores? I haven't been there in a couple weeks, but last time I was there I didn't see anything...

04-18-2009, 01:28 PM

04-20-2009, 10:25 AM
Anyone know if RO nyc will be carrying Pugh like the Paris and London stores? I haven't been there in a couple weeks, but last time I was there I didn't see anything...

I can ask Thursday. They haven't yet. Barneys has a very limited stock, and they will have the mens next season.

04-20-2009, 04:02 PM
You're the best Faust (interesting ps, I was in there like a month ago and I got talking to the sa's about rick's leathers and the pricing, and the sa I was talking to said he keeps looking on ebay and such, so I mentioned SZ as a good place to check out and he said he knew of SZ and they knew you there, I had a little 7 degrees of separation moment...)

04-21-2009, 12:16 PM
hahaha :-) yes, they are great.

07-12-2011, 08:10 AM
GARETH PUGH SHOW SOUNDTRACKS | MATTHEW STONE (http://soundcloud.com/matthewstone)

07-12-2011, 08:19 AM
/\ thank for these. they are always fantastic. i still listen to the one from the men's show from time to time. by the way, matthew used to post here.

07-13-2011, 05:53 AM
Yeah they are great! Did he? I know that the younger Matthew (young stylist/student) would post occasionally.
Either way, i do like the music he selects for the shows. Great for working (out) to also.

09-29-2011, 01:15 AM

S/S2012 by Gareth Pugh collaborated with filmmaker Ruth Hogben

09-29-2011, 05:09 AM
http://showstudio.com/img/products/1-200/120_960n.jpg?1308144590 (http://showstudio.com/shop/product/carsons_arse_flower_and_bed)

03-09-2012, 09:17 AM
Gareth Pugh's work reminds me of the early work from Alexander McQueen.

03-09-2012, 01:46 PM
Interesting avatar.

03-09-2012, 02:55 PM
lol, was going to write the same...

03-09-2012, 05:49 PM
[lol] Lollllll

04-05-2012, 11:53 AM

GARETH PUGH + CARBON BALLET (https://www.layerslondon.com/blog/events-shows/gareth-pugh-carbon-ballet/)

04-07-2012, 09:49 PM
i would like to know what that sticky stuff he uses to make the fabric easier to work with as well. and i must say that technique he uses is so innovative. don't think i've ever seen anyone work like that.

04-12-2012, 08:39 PM
I imagine he's using adhesive sheets similar to these http://www.dickblick.com/products/chartpak-drybond-adhesive-sheets/

05-12-2012, 08:33 PM
that is kinda cool video joni posted - for the sake of completion -


12-12-2013, 05:10 AM
Via BOF (http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/12/bof-exclusive-gareth-pugh-x-chrome-hearts-a-family-affair.html)

LONDON, United Kingdom — Sparked by personal kinship and a mutual love for artistry and craftsmanship, experimental British designer Gareth Pugh has partnered with high-end Los Angeles leather and accessories label Chrome Hearts, owned by husband-and-wife team Richard and Laurie Lynn Stark. Based on three looks from Pugh’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection, the 14-piece collaboration consists of cast bustiers, floor-length skirts, structured jackets and accessories like shoes and gloves.

Combining the tough, motorbike meets rock ‘n roll roots of Chrome Hearts and the otherworldly armour of Gareth Pugh, the collection will debut in January at the Chrome Hearts’ newly expanded shop-in-shop in The Wonder Room at London department store Selfridges.

“It’s something that happened very naturally,” Pugh told BoF. Introduced by Michèle Lamy, wife and business partner of American-born designer Rick Owens (the two own a 49 percent stake in Pugh’s label), Pugh and Laurie Lynn Stark of Chrome Hearts began a transatlantic creative collaboration that was split between London and Los Angeles. “I’ve been a huge fan of his — really, since a long time ago, I started going to the shows, loving and trying to get a piece just for myself,” said Stark.

After Pugh’s Spring/Summer 2014 runway show in Paris, the designer and his partner Carson McColl took off with Stark on an impromptu whirlwind trip to Los Angeles, where Chrome Hearts’ 200,000 square feet factory is based. “The tour of the factory was incredible,” recalled Pugh. “To see how they make all of, even the chains and how each link is cast individually.” The brand’s chunky silver jewellery — engraved with the fleurs-de-lys, crosses, and other motifs that Chrome Hearts has made its own — has achieved cult status. The 25 year-old brand counts personalities as diverse as varied as singer Cher and Korean pop star G-Dragon as fans, and has a network of 22 standalone stores in the world.

The project was also borne of a shared respect for craftsmanship and a commitment to product integrity. “It’s that kind of hand done element that exist [also] within the pieces that we produce in the studio, so more than on an aesthetic level, it’s that attention to detail and that love of craft that is actually the thing that makes sense between the two of us,” said Pugh. “It’s amazing to think that you’re not just bashing something out.” Indeed, even the mannequins and wooden pedestals on which the products reside were hand made and customised in the Starks’ wood shop.

Unexpectedly, Pugh found himself drawn to his British roots, even as he was surrounded by the “hysterical feminity” and Old Hollywood glamour of Los Angeles. A towering, feathered headpiece is reminiscent of the conical, tassled helmets donned by the Queen’s horse guards. A leather jacket with exaggerated shoulders is embellished with intricately layered, hand-stitched leather shapes made from cowboy boots.

The collection’s crowning piece is a bustier cast entirely in Chrome Hearts’ signature polished silver and stamped with both brands on the inside, much like a collectible. Given how labour intensive many of the pieces are, they are priced upon request. Shoes and other accessories, however, will have a larger commercial run.

The project marks another step in the evolution of the Gareth Pugh brand under the guidance of Lamy. Though the designer garnered early critical praise for his futuristic vision and experimentation with materials like perspex and PVC, in recent seasons, Pugh’s work has become softer around the edges and grown a romantic, more salable streak. His latest collection even displayed flashes of teal and mauve, however brief, a departure from his signature black.
Sales are “going in the right direction,” said Pugh, who declined to divulge revenue figures. “[But this project] is not about selling, really. It’s kind of more about re-imagining what we did in the show, but through different eyes.”

Starks’ commitment to American-made, hand-crafted goods, in particular, has inspired the young designer. “We were constantly told by our commercial advisors that it can’t be done. But you can create your own blueprint and seeing Richard and his attitude has galvanised us,” said Carson McColl, Pugh’s partner and showroom manager.

Both Pugh and Lynn Stark referred to the project as “ongoing.” Does that mean another collection is in the works? They’ve already discussed menswear, they said, but nothing is planned, which is just as they like it.

“It’s not set, which is the great thing about it, because this is the freedom of what being an artist is,” said Laurie Lynn Stark.

12-12-2013, 07:47 AM
Thanks for posting. The idea is interesting, but the products don't look too interesting from those few photos (granted, they are not very detailed). I must say, though I am not drawn to CH aesthetic (with some exceptions), the fact that they have built a viable business doing artisanal production in the US is commendable.

08-25-2014, 09:20 AM
Via Dazed and Confused:
http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/20252/1/gareth-pugh-s-labyrinth (full article)

Fashion's dark provocateur is hitting the reset button. He opens up about his virtual reality experiments and attraction to opposite forces

Each season, Gareth Pugh emerges with new and unique concepts that transport us light years from the desperately digestible fashion we’ve come to expect. His world is bold, unfamiliar and gloriously unsettling. Whether he’s producing collections inspired by the Asgarda – a modern tribe of Ukrainian women who seek autonomy from men – using Dalston garbage bags, or pumping smoke and chlorine into the Palais de Tokyo, he’s no stranger to diving headfirst into the underworld. Pugh has been spreading his “dark euphoria”, as his collaborator Matthew Stone terms it, since his first runway show, presented at underground London clubnight Kashpoint over ten years ago. Now he shows twice a year in Paris – a rare accomplishment for any independent British designer. For him it’s a chance to bring the mind-altering theatrics of his early shows (think inflatable balloon dresses and perverse harlequins in PVC) to shake up 
the institutional French fashion system.

“Let’s just say there are no favours in Paris,” laughs Pugh in the east London studio he’s occupied since 2006, when he left his squatting days as part of the Peckham-based !WOWOW! collective behind. 
“In Paris you have to fight for everything. It sort of reminds me of Central Saint Martins. All the staff are there, but you get the feeling that they’re not always there to help you, but to be more of a hindrance. They force you to question how much you want it.” But if anyone knows how to attack hard and fight the system, it’s Pugh.

For AW14 he presented a collection that felt notably stripped back, with colours and fabrics that felt more utilitarian than glamorous. “It was a bit like hitting the reset button this season,” he explains. “We used base fabrics like calico that we wouldn’t normally put in a show, and had a very limited palette, maybe four or five fabrics where normally we’d have about 15. It was about trying to work within a tight framework and seeing what we could do with it.” That tight framework revealed itself in colours and textures you might expect to pick up playing Supermarket Sweep in a hardware store, from papery white overalls to almost shockingly shiny silver insulating foil.

Only a few months earlier, Pugh’s friend and show stylist Katie Shillingford introduced him to the work of photographer Jackie Nickerson, who has been capturing Zimbabwean farm workers since 
1996. Nickerson transforms documentary-style portraits into abstract art images through the use of large-scale objects like fallen palm tree leaves, which often obscure her subjects’ identities. One image in particular – a portrait of a woman in a field obscured by plastic sheeting from her Terrain series – became a reference for the highly sculptural and abstract silhouettes in Pugh’s AW14 collection. (Appropriately, Shillingford and Nickerson interpret Pugh’s collection for this feature.)

In a similar way to how Nickerson manipulates everyday objects and materials, Pugh used his base fabrics as sculptural supports, allowing him to play with vivid forms and abstract shapes. The more intricate and expensive fabrics, like fur, took on a post-apocalyptic feel, more scavenged or hunted than wrapped in tissue paper. Then came oversized hats that appeared to have been plucked from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain and 3D wind-up doll garments, a reference to one of his 2005 shows with Fashion East.

Amid this collection of outfits for nuclear-winter wanderers was a palpable sense of opposites. The opening look was brilliantly contradictory: a skirt suit, prim and stiff-collared but fluffy and white as a lamb. A few looks later, that aggressive softness appeared again in the shape of a hard, transparent bustier that revealed the model’s naked torso beneath. It was inspired by “that amazing scene in Billy Elliot when they’re all tapping their riot shields at the police. Very confrontational but also very much about protection.”

“The immersive is hardwired into Gareth’s DNA,” 
notes Matthew Stone, who’s been creating the soundtracks for Pugh’s shows since 2006. “He has 
that larger vision, and it’s about him trying to communicate it so that people can emotionally connect to the space he’s in or that he wants to project.” That communication is most evident during his shows, which are often multi-sensory experiences. This season, however, the music, a sort of rhythmless drumming that highlighted the silence more than the sound, felt almost empty. “Instead of hi-hats we’d use white noise,” Stone says. “Or at the part where hi-hats might come in they’d drop out, which is white noise again in a similar way. It gives this feeling of a cloud of synergy.” 
Pugh’s shows overwhelm because the sensory elements unite as one.

During the design process, however, it’s the friction between elements that Pugh finds himself drawn towards. “When you take a step back you see that there’s always something dealing with opposites,” he says. “Whether it’s simply using a colour and then black-and-white, or masculine and feminine, 
or good and bad, or light and shade, it’s always there. It’s like when you put two magnets together. That friction or tension between the two disparate elements is interesting. 
It doesn’t read very easily – it’s quite unnerving to look at, but it’s not clear why. 
I think of it as the thread that runs through everything.” 
The world Pugh presents is one of shadows and murmurs, as much about a glimpsed face on the dancefloor as the apocalypse. As Stone says: “He’s dealing with an energy close to anxiety but without any of the nihilism. A space that is beyond; space that relates to the sublime.”

Pugh’s focus on otherworldliness may be why he’s found fans in such influential fashion outsiders as Michèle Lamy and Rick Owens, who have supported him for several years. Lamy compares her feeling of “ecstasy” upon discovering his work to how she felt when she saw “Komm Tanz Mit Mir” performed by Pina Bausch in 1978. She found out later that Pugh had been a dancer from a very early age, a fact that sheds light on the sense of movement in his work. There’s no question that his shows, which often obscure identities and genders, are worlds away from the processions of recognisable models fashion shows usually consist of.

“There’s always something dealing with opposites 
in what 
I do. It’s like putting two magnets together – 
it’s unnerving to look at, 
but it’s not clear why” – Gareth Pugh

“I suppose it’s about trying to distance ourselves from certain things,” he says of his habit of obscuring his models’ faces. “As humans you always focus on the face, and people get so perturbed when that’s taken away. This way you have to look at the whole thing instead.” By hiding the thing people’s eyes are usually drawn to, he undermines the commerciality of the industry and tightens his 
grip on his audience. 
“I wouldn’t be this controlled about everything if it was like, ‘Yeah, just stick a print on it and sell it.’”

Pugh laments the current lack of the certain intangible “other” that permeated the runway shows of Galliano and McQueen, and it’s easy to see why he identifies with their “insane fantasies” over the buzz-related fashion that overloads the press. 
“We try as much as possible to control the environment, it’s really important,” he says of his own shows. 
“We started playing around quite a few seasons ago, and obviously we don’t have that mega budget to transport people into a different world but we try in our way to make it feel like they’re not just coming to Palais de Tokyo to see a fashion show where it’s all backwards and forwards.”

SS13 in particular was one of those epiphanic moments when a show transcends its “trade show” identity. 
“That was a really special one for me,” he says. 
“Even I didn’t think I could do something that soft and beautiful. We wanted the space to feel like it was filled with rays of sunshine coming through a church window, sort of dusty and light. We had smoke to scent the room, which made the whole process feel quite ceremonial, and played a really stripped-back track, Rebekah del Rio’s Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s "Crying". 
It was quite a sunny day, but during the show the heavens opened; it started pissing down with rain and because of the glass roof the noise was insane. It was just so perfect to have these glistening tears coming down, and it’s funny because if we’d had the budget and the foresight we would have had people up on the roof with hosepipes making rain.”

It’s hard to imagine how an experience like that could ever be captured and shared online without losing its essence. You might think that a designer as precise and conceptual as Pugh would feel frustrated as his multi-dimensional collections become flat images on fashion websites, but he seems to have accepted the inevitability of the process. “I think 
it’s weird that certain people say that they design with that in mind – like, that’s what it comes down to, flicking through images on a phone or an iPad or computer – but eventually it’s just a reality you have to be at peace with. 
The show feels like a full stop because that’s the pinnacle of how you want things to be seen; you work with your team to get to a point where everything’s right, and once that process is over it becomes somebody else’s story. It becomes part of somebody else’s narrative, if you like, and that’s just the way it rolls.”