Gareth Pugh S/S 2010 / PFW / Day one

When the lights went down and four dramatic spotlights came up to an ominous techno-Goth overture at Gareth Pugh’s Palais de Tokyo show, he set up another example of his high-octane showmanship. Pugh has earned a reputation and the attention of those who want to know if this London club kid can turn his costumey cult following toward the commercial. Consider their questions answered. Pugh’s spring collection rolled in like a soft Gothic fog — it was gorgeous yet shockingly approachable, at least where the women’s wear was concerned.

Pugh put a gentle, even romantic spin on the tough girl who wears her clothes like armor. Which is to say there was excellent outerwear, such as a trim leather jacket with zip-away peplums and a trench that cut away to a trailing skirt. Collars, necklines and corset effects suggested something Elizabethan, an idea that resonated in the subtle hourglass shape created by the panels on a sharp dress. Such structure gave way to a soft beauty in gauzy dresses, some sliced into strips of chiffon, others done in sheer stripes.

All this newfound wearability wasn’t at the expense of Pugh’s precious theatrics, maintained via aggressive accessories — feathered headpieces, lace-up leather leggings and wedge boots that have a future as fashion’s new fetish item.

Throughout, the Rick Owens influence was obvious — his wife, Michelle Lamy, produces Pugh’s collection — not only in the smoky gray palette, but also in the cuts and sense of proportion. And Pugh is taking all the right cues. He put forth his most refined effort without losing any of his signature edge.

© by WWD / Photos by Giovanni Giannoni

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