A Powerful Return: Gareth Pugh | London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2015

One of the most anticipated shows of London Fashion Week was the heralded return of Gareth Pugh to coincide with 10 years of the brand’s operation. Gareth Pugh, who first showed at London Fashion Week in 2005, made a name for himself as one of the UK’s most unique designers with a fabulous sense of drama, crafting dramatic, ominous, futuristic garments. After a decade of showing in Paris and New York, the collection was a triumphant return; a highlight of the week that showed the designer’s aesthetic refinement and embodied an extremely British sensibility. This was a thematic homecoming in every sense.

Taking place at the imposing Raphael Gallery in The V&A, the presentation began with a film of a model hacking her long hair short in militaristic fashion and then daubing herself in the iconic red Saint George's Cross of England. With this fierce tribal image frozen behind the catwalk the collection began. Show notes proclaimed the shows inspiration; “Britannia heralds the onslaught, a weaponized woman, hardened and battle ready”. Never before has the designers interest in the sartorial power of armor manifested so overtly. Leather bodices with dramatic V-shaped hem lines looking ready to stop the fiercest assault were paired with floor grazing skirts, while long leather gloves and boots with shin reinforcements gave a similarly armored atmosphere to decadent fur dresses. Gigantic padded duvet coats inflated around the body defied the human form, while an arresting outfit covered in thousands of hand cut black drinking straws swayed in reptilian manner with the models motion. The culmination of the show was the final manifestation of the English warrior queen, emerging bare-chested in tribal paint carrying a huge red flag ready to lead the Gareth Pugh army to savage victory.
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