Thursday, 14 October 2010

Luxury for the Future

It would be typical of Gareth Pugh's dual mind to work on his S/S 2011 collection from an Eros/Thanatos inspiration. After all, the Platonic, opposed concepts of light and darkness are always the very basis of his designs, being changed, turned around and interpreted under different angles on each collection.
There's no need to say I'm a fan, you all know that; there's no need either to talk about this video (I'm sure most of you have seen it anyway), or Kirsten McMenamy's amazing interpretation, or those fabulous aluminium, mirror-like dresses that I would give my right arm for. But, for me, this collection is a turning point. As Gareth (his brand and his creative point of view) gets established in the fashion industry more and more like a reference for others to follow and his status as an extravagant and somewhat bizarre wonderboy starts to fade away, I can see more and more clearly that he is the Pierre Cardin of our time.
Of course times have changed since the 60's. The space age is no longer a dream but a reality, and the future, as imagined by Cardin and others like Mary Quant or André Courrèges, didn't actually turn out to be quite so "futuristic" (where are the flying cars, the Orwellian dictatures and the trips to Mars?). The future is no longer all about pristine minimal surfaces or the moon (although one might argue to have seen such references in Gareth's collections), but about the digital revolution. And this is just as puzzling and full of possibilities.
The internet has turned the fashion industry upside down in many ways, making style a global matter and democratizing it. Is this good or bad? I'm not sure yet, I guess a bit of both, just like any other kind of democracy. So now anyone can be a style icon, posing for homemade pictures in Zara shoes that look high-end and high-end clothes that look Zara. "La boucle est bouclée", as the French would say. When haute couture shows are featured in every other blog 15 minutes after they've happened, when high-street mega-brands are able to copy a must-have accessory at the speed of lightning, and, above all, when anyone around the globe can have access to that copy and actually recognize it as a copy of a high-end designer...Where does that leave luxury brands?
In order to stay exclusive, dashing and whatnot, luxury has to change with times. And this Gareth Pugh has already perfectly understood. Since fashion shows are now visible live for literally everyone (and it's so much more comfortable to watch them from home, wearing slippers instead of heels), he has chosen to team up with fellow "futurists" such as SHOWstudio, Dazed or AnOther and produce fashion films as a new, perhaps more expressive way of presenting his collections. Since cheaper versions of designer clothes can be bought in any high street of any city of any country in the world, Gareth has chosen to design clothes that will be found nowhere but "chez lui": elegant yet with an edge, ravishingly modern clothes with a concept and a story; clothes that, even at a time when most people seem to think "everything is invented in fashion", never fail to surprise and to somehow look otherworldly and make the person who is wearing them look like she just stepped back from a contradictory prospective time. The future starts here.


  1. wow ^^ you've just exceeded yourself with this amazing review*

  2. Ca c'est l'article que j'avais lu (oh, miracle), et c'est effectivement une analyse très très fine... même si je vois quand même chez Gareth et surtout dans cette collection des références massives au passé, en particulier à la tradition médiévale et au graphisme années '70... tout ça mélangé au 'futur' par contre, j'adore!

  3. Tu as bien raison ma belle! Moi aussi je vois toujours énormément de référneces médievales dans le travail de Gareth, toujours d'une façon très fine... C'est plutôt dans son concept de marque et de luxe que je le trouve extrêmement futuriste...


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