If Gareth Pugh was exhausted following his first-ever all-menswear presentation late Sunday night, it wasn’t evident in the slightest. About an hour after the final boy model marched backstage and Gareth took his bow at the Palais de Tokio, the Sunderland kid was downstairs in the snazzy restaurant, crouching next to our dinner host and his business partner Michele Lamy.
He excitedly opened a folder-sized, congratulatory “card” from Karl Lagerfeld and shared it with the table, which included Andy and Michele’s other half Rick. Inside was a sketch of Gareth, inked by Karl himself, with a scribbled message to the young designer. He was clearly pleased as punch. “Look, he even got the direction of my men’s collection,” he enthused. Not that it was that much a stretch for the ol’ guy to determine that the kid should be pictured in a stick-thin suit, and entirely in black. Gareth entrusted the keepsake and a bulging bouquet of snow-white roses, wrapped in black tissue, to Michele and headed out to some club.
To be young, we agreed, as we dug into dinner and talked of recent holidays and dreamed of future escapes to the ends of the world—or at least just a hot slice of sand somewhere soon.
As for Gareth’s collection, admittedly, it didn’t push the envelope quite like what he’s shown on past runways, always a mix of women’s, men’s and unisex looks. There certainly was some great craftsmanship in all that utterly Goth garb, and several coats I would steal out of a stranger's closet.
But there was no relief in the relentless parade of shredded stovepipe pants, spiky-fuzzy separates, super-cropped boleros and heavily beaded epaulets. It neither blew the mind as his Spring 2009 collection did with all its ferocity, nor revealed a sense of business savvy…which, by the way is par for course in fashion.
As a whole, it was a spectacle fit for the remake of The Crow, or even the new Battlestar Galactica (IF the series had life after this final season…as it is, the show already appears to generously riff from Rick's sensibility, whether he admits it or not!).
Don't get me wrong, that's not all bad. And I can think of more than a few skinny boys who would go weak at the chance of shimmying into these looks. But as one observer in our group just after the show pointed out, where were the great basics–albeit with Gareth’s edgy point of view—that are the core of any brand? Ah, but the boy’s still young…
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