#SuzyLFW: Gareth Pugh – Creatures of the Night
Sex, nightlife, performance art and a racy spirit at the heart of London Town - since the Victorian era this has been the spirit of Soho, where the current fashion shows have now landed.
?Even before Gareth Pugh sent out his sexually charged 'ladies of the night' onto the upper floor of a former garage, where London Fashion Week is currently held, he had been thinking about this part of the city and how its bright night lights are dimming as gentrification takes over.
"It's quite a provocative proposition, and the idea of showing in Soho on a Saturday night was intoxicating," said the designer, who sent out models with masked faces and tomato-red wigs, teetering in their plastic tights over a runway scattered with coins.
"I remember arriving here for the first time, coming down to study at Saint Martins," he said, reminiscing about that hotbed of student creativity before it had moved north to King's Cross. "It was like falling down the rabbit hole. There were such feelings of euphoria, of danger and of possibility. I guess that's what this collection is about. A place where you feel like anything can happen."
Pugh's women were surely showgirls, dedicating their bodies to the clothes that were often stylishly elegant - if you took away the stars masking the eyes and the rubbery hose.
?The designs were also on message for Pugh's style, with his favourite graphics appearing as a diamond patterned black-and-white coat and sparkly gilded arms emerging from a streamlined leather cape.
Compared to the gothic mediaeval darkness of last season's show at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Pugh appeared to be poking fun - not least at himself. Fancy pants made up of scarlet paillettes, matching in colour the bright red hair (but not the green and yellow eye make-up) suggested that the designer was looking back to his roots as a dancer.??
But like the sorrow behind the clown's smile, there was something touching about these "bad girls" striding out, wigs held high, shiny rubber legs coming through a forest of chiffon strips.
?Just like those Soho performers, before their central London haven was taken over by property developers and fast-food eateries, the Gareth girls seemed determined that the show of fluffy white jackets and crystal party dresses must go on.