For fall 2012 Gareth Pugh took the term “man eater” to the next level. Set on a stage of black fabric discs fallen from the ceiling to resemble the debris on the ground of a post-apocalyptic Amazonian village, Pugh’s models were fearless cannibals, satiated by male flesh. He’s quite the showman, so with top models Joan Smalls, Magdalena Frackowiak, and Jourdan Dunn pounding the runway, we were all ears.
The show opened with a series of Chubaka-esque shags in black and graphite. You instantly got the feeling that these women weren’t looking for a mate, but flesh to devour.
After the furry moment Pugh segued into thick, matte jersey fringe dresses and outerwear that alluded to the shapes and effects of active volcanoes. With fringe dripping like molten lava, these pieces were bold, graphic, and probably perfect for dancing, like 1920s flapper zombies.
Leather is something that has always been Pugh’s greatest strength. Mixing London’s punk scene with classic couture techniques, the mini-dresses and coats were tough-looking but the tailoring and construction showed the finesse underneath. One jacket in particular, crafted from tightly tiered leather fringe, cinched at the waist before ballooning at the hip. The perfect homage and Christian Dior’s “New Look,” but not at all taken too literally so as to not push any buttons or boundaries.
He still has a long road ahead of him, but at only 30, he’s done wonders carving out a niche for his aesthetic and his brand.