HONG KONG — British designer Gareth Pugh is making his retail debut with a striking black-and-white space filled with textural contrasts.
The 658-square-foot store, which opened Saturday, is located on Ice House Street in the city’s Central area, near avant-garde peers Commes des Garçons, Ann Demeulemeester and Martin Margiela. As such, Pugh felt he needed to create a strong sense of identity to stand out.
“Because it was my first store, I knew I had to do something that was very me. So I went back to my runway shows and thought, What could be more me than a black box? But instead of doing something very one-dimensional, I decided to play around with a lot of optical illusions that will change the space according to reflections. Contrasting themes such as shiny and matte, black and white, hard and soft are also an important part of my style. I wanted to take these ideas and create something that would make sense in a retail environment,” Pugh said.
The shop is masked in British-imported jet black rubber paint while glossy black tiles line the floor and walls to create a “grid-line” effect. The clothing racks are set into the wall, with a matte rubber inset that juxtaposes against the shiny surface of the tiles.
Continuing the idea of contrasts, Pugh shows his lighter side in a fitting room with padded leather ash gray walls, a light gray carpet and an opulent white light box hanging from the ceiling. The boutique’s all-black facade will bear no window display. Instead, the large glass window will look through to the LED wall at the back of the shop, which currently displays graphics and videos from his fashion shows. Over time, Pugh said the screen will act as a platform for him to strengthen his brand identity by showcasing films he frequently produces with friend and filmmaker Ruth Hogben, as well as collaborative art installations.
“I’ve been talking to Nick Knight, who runs a lot of live streaming on Showstudio, and I was thinking I can connect the screen to the Internet and perhaps put a camera in my studio. Because the screen is part of the architecture of the store, we can essentially curate the wall. And when the shop is shut, it can still communicate to the audience outside,” he said.
Meanwhile, the experimental designer denied rumors that he’s heading to Thierry Mugler. “There is no truth to them at all,” he said, shaking his head. “Rumors are rumors. It’s not going to happen.”
Pugh admits that opening a stand-alone store was not in the cards, but when he was approached by Hong Kong-based retailer I.T. Group last year, the opportunity was too good to pass up. With this venture, Pugh will now be selling exclusively through I.T. Group and will no longer be available at other retailers in Hong Kong.
But Pugh said he is confident that this upscale positioning of his brand in the Hong Kong market will be a success. “I like that there is Margiela just up the street, Gucci around the corner and Hermès across the road. It creates a sense of luxury around the brand and what I do that may not be so apparent in other cities, such as London. What I do is of a certain ilk, but it’s still very sophisticated. And there is a broad ranging type of person who can buy my things. Hong Kong is ready for it,” he said.
As of now, there are no plans for more stores, but the designer did mention he would eventually like to have one in London. “London or Paris,” he said. “Maybe Paris, Paris is more chic.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)