LFW fall 08/09: Gareth Pugh gets hairy

Kate Gilbert reports from London Fashion Week

A bit like Marmite, you either love or hate Gareth Pugh. Recently working at a magazine that will remain nameless, I overheard as the Fashion Editor scoffed at the ‘freak show’ that was Gareth Pugh, whilst simultaneously throwing her hard to come by ticket in the bin. ‘Why would anyone chose to watch such trash?!’ she proclaimed before then advising her pregnant colleague not to attend for fear of upsetting her unborn child. All I could think was, ‘keep your knickers on love, its only fashion, not Night of the Living Dead‘. Some people can be so melodramatic.

For me, Pugh seemed to get ever tamer this season, particularly when you take into consideration that many London collections have gone for a darker, horror-film inspired look, as seen at Giles and Luella. As we noted last season with Pugh, there is only so long collections can be seen as art and as a spectator sport before someone has to cough up the cash and actually wear them. If you take away the hype, the scary make-up and hair, and the questionable head wear, what you end up with is a really wearable collection contained in some great shapes and materials.

This season, Pugh seemed to take inspiration from the flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz as dresses, coats and sleeves made of black goat hair came down the catwalk on warrior women. PVC and leather mini dresses made out of small geometric shapes made some really fantastic structures that would look fabulous on any high fashion party girl (enter Kylie Minogue, long time fan of Pugh, who brings that touch of girly innocence and sex to his dresses). Also, some great coats, including a cream elfin hood number and a large down-filled one, held together at jaunty angles. Saftey pins and zips were aplenty and broad shoulders were a feature, seen at other collections such as Jens Laugesen.

Pugh remains the leader in terms of gothic shows and is one of many campaigners continuing to persuade the rest of the world that what London has in abundance is edge, and for that reason alone, it needs to be taken seriously on the fashion week circuit.

[Images from LondonFashionWeek.co.uk]