Combining Amazonian ferocity with nunnish austerity, Gareth Pugh’s fall show was akin to a Black Mass. Abandoning his recent excursions into the light (white last season, cerulean blue and gold previously), here was a collection of exquisite, unremitting darkness.
On a runway sprinkled with rose petals, models wore a selection of long-haired furs as jackets, capes and skirts. With narrow leather bodices as armor, or harnesses, it was unclear whether Pugh’s muse was a warrior or priestess; either way, she was not of this world. Slashed leather—a Pugh favorite—also appeared in an unravelling lampshade-skirted dress and an origami-folded coat. Waists were structured and nipped-in, allowing for experiments with volume above and below. Meanwhile, sweeping folds of fabric on capes gave the impression of a sci-fi priest’s vestments. Collars were dramatic across the board, from face obscuring funnel necks to imperial cocoon shapes. They reached their apotheosis with points extending up from the sides like bat ears, echoed in insect-like, spiked shoulder pieces. Beetles, of course, are another of Pugh’s perennials. Clearly not a designer swayed by trends, but what lurks in the subconscious.