Sunday 16th September

| BY Helena Fletcher

Gareth Pugh: Ready-to-Wear SS19

For SS19, Gareth Pugh incited that ever so familiar hedonistic feeling. The one you get as the party is rolling well into the following day, when the creatures of the deepest, darkest depths of nighttime underworld emerge and bring with them a second wind. You know you should have left hours ago but you can’t quite pull yourself away. A feeling quite freeingly mischievous and completely detached from responsibilities and realities of everyday life.

The show and the clothes were an emotional homage to the trailblazing stylist, voguing House Mother and Pugh’s friend and mentor Judy Blame, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Shrouded in darkness and lit by revolving spotlights, the gender-fluid cast of models teetered precariously on platform goth boots, performing assertively to the audience as they made their way around the raised cyclical catwalk. Shoulders were pronouncedly angular, trousers were flared and jackets were perfectly tailored. All pieces could have move between a private view to a dance floor seamlessly. A concentric star print in a commanding black and battery-acid vermilion anarchically appeared on coats, dresses and a morph suit, whilst Pugh’s signature-structural sculptural pieces were peppered throughout the collection. There was, as to be expected, a fair share of black, but it was cut with shocks of taffy pink lamé.

Closing the show, a model appeared heavily pregnant, rubbing her large rounded stomach as she walked the length of the catwalk. The scene conjured allusions of Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, which hangs on the walls of the National Gallery. The audience could ask themselves the same questions as scholars have been asking of the painting for centuries: was it fashion? Was she actually carrying a child? Or was she simply provocatively “pregnant with possibility”? The show notes read that SS19 was a “celebration of outsider society… of London as a cradle of creative extremism – a place where anything can happen.” And for the duration of the show, it really felt like it could.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.