Gareth Pugh A/W 09

Gareth Pugh talks about coming full circle with his first men's collection backstage at Paris Menswear Fashion Week.

Film by Pierre Debusschere Text by Kin Woo

“It’s like a little hat-trick!” laughed Gareth Pugh whenKin points out the fact that as he opened Paris S/S 09 womenswear shows last year with his first Paris collection, he’s come full circle, wrapping up the A/W 09 menswear season with the debut of his hotly anticipated first menswear showing. If the S/S 09 collection lightened up his aesthetic with the use of lighter fabrics and matt white, Pugh returned to his dark roots with this collection. He took his geometric pattern and applied it to lacquered trenchcoats and padded jackets.

As this was menswear, there was suiting also; but not as we knew it. The cut was strict and angular shoulders were added. Chain mail, denim-ripped-to-shreds and Hellraiser-type pins on trousers were some of the more confrontational elements but his clothing is defiantly wearable as evidenced by front row luminary Daphne Guinness who was rocking Gareth’s clothing, looking like sci-fi royalty. The ending salvo of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” coalesced the apocalyptic feel of the collection which provided a dramatic end to the menswear season. Kin caught up with Gareth as well as Casey Spooner after the show.

Did you start a menswear line for the same reason a lot of people start designing, which is you didn’t have any clothes to wear?
That’s the premise of the whole thing, that’s where it starts from. It comes from me and it’s fit on me. What’s the point of doing a collection if I can’t wear it. It was my first menswear show so I had to do something that people identify with me but also to mix it up with this modern take on menswear without it looking sci-fi.

The collection seemed like a return to harder materials after the softness of S/S.
Fall’s a good season for me to begin with. It allows me to get away with doing bigger shapes. Although everything was quite tied in and quite strict, it was nice to do something like that. I sometimes get carried away!

Do you find the limitations of designing menswear inspiring or frustrating compared to womenswear?
It kinda helps y’know to have a structure to work around. With womenswear it’s a bit like, “oh just do what you want.” Then you don’t know what to do. With womenswear, you can get away with a lot more but with menswear you have these parameters you can play around with or have to work within. So that’s kind of quite interesting.

How does it feel to close Paris fashion week?
I know it’s weird! The menswear show came on so late in the day, it was the only slot we had. But we closed it off with a bang!

Front row at Gareth Pugh was Fischerspooner frontman, Casey Spooner, scouting for clothes to wear on his upcoming tour. Spooner has championed Pugh from the start, wearing his light bulb dress at Pugh’s graduation show. Kin got hers thoughts on the collection:

Casey Spooner: God where do I start? I really come to these shows to look for talent, people I want to work with. Gareth is one of the few people that I feel makes modern, exciting, interesting menswear. There’s a lot of stuff that I think is really wearable. It feels like he started with this really ambitious, unusual, theatrical stuff and it’s really maturing into a vision that you can wear.
I wore his light bulb dress at one of his first shows. What’s interesting is that the pattern, the geometry of that dress I see now in these suits. It’s transposed but more wearable. I’ve definitely got my eye on some of the clothes for my upcoming tour – I just gotta get in there and get my order in!

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