Gareth Pugh, never one to design for shrinking violets, dedicated his fall collection to “women who accept zero bulls–t.” And while the designer denied that this season’s fierce offering was a response to the #MeToo movement, it read like a timely comment on female power.
Pugh referenced artist Michael Landy’s 2001 anticapitalist performance piece in which Landy took over a derelict London department store and went about destroying all of his worldly belongings.
The collection echoed the crushed bodies of cars in scrapyards, with high-shine black metallic leather deployed for crumpled, high-waisted paperbag trousers and jackets or coats with exaggerated peak shoulders, while the models’ matching gloves — which looked like a boxing glove-wrecking-ball hybrid — furthered the designer’s destructive theme.
But for all the talk of annihilation, it was another polished showing from Pugh. The opening look — Jacquetta Wheeler in a furry leopard, pagoda-shouldered wrap coat, cinched at the waist and with matching wide pants that morphed into the towering wedges — channeled confidence, as did sharp pin-striped or gray wool tailoring and structural minidresses or corset tops in lashed-together panels of flocked plastic.
Pugh said this collection was about remembering why he wanted to make clothes in the first place and, unusually, everything shown on the runway would be for sale, with no showroom of “more commercial” pieces in the wings for buyers to pick over.
That purity of vision was evident in the belted black trench with matching pants that was very Matrix, and the gray wool pants paired with a black corset whose front panel was spiked with countless outward-facing pins — a warning against unwelcome embraces if ever there was one.