Leave it to Gareth Pugh to amplify the melancholia that has been hanging over the fall collections so far. He boarded up the windows of the grandiose Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, letting an eerie, slanted light filter through the smoke and illuminate his regal coats and gowns.

After a dalliance with ruffles and gossamer fabrics last season, the English designer was back to his sculptural, futuristic ways. Employing heavy couture silks, bonded leather and sturdy canvas the color of cement, he crafted coats and jackets with hunched, sloping shoulders and raised necklines which elongated the body. They flared open over stiff, jutting skirts that picked up the dust from the point de Hongrie parquet.

Forgetting the caught-in-a-hurricane hairdos and the heavy Goth styling, this collection was really about statement coats with demonstrative, face-framing collars — some jutting dramatically, others crumpling romantically.

The finale looks were over-the-top, with black plastic strips employed as fringe on silvery tweed gowns, or shaved like a hedge into bulging atomic-bomb silhouettes. Deflating the apocalyptic mood, a few editors couldn’t resist copping a feel of the swollen dresses as they passed by to see if they might be made of garbage bags.

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