It's somehow typical of Gareth's Pugh-ness that the designer would encourage his soundtrack-ist Matthew Stone to come up with something a little more up-tempo than last season's stentorian sounds and, for his pains, get the pounding techno that accompanied the 11-minute film that budding genius Ruth Hogben made to replace his show this time around. ("Half the length of Coronation Street," was Pugh's stipulation, referring to the episodic, quintessentially English TV series.) But it all worked so completely that, among the people filing out of the auditorium where they'd just been exposed to an almost-IMAX-scale projection of the movie, several must have been thinking it was time more designers ditched the catwalk drudgery. Mind you, the scope of Pugh's vision lends itself to cinematic interpretation. Kristen McMenamy, a model whose hold on a rung on the ladder of nineties supermodel-dom probably qualifies her as iconic, gave her all to animate clothes that would have lain limp in a standard fashion presentation. Her all, in this case, included the injury she suffered when she was pitched off a treadmill during filming.
If that hard edge would once have been equally applicable to Pugh's clothes, his Spring collection suggested a move toward something softer, though equally bewitching. Flowing kimono shapes were cut from a nylon printed with aluminum to give an extraordinary two-way mirror effect. Scales of rubberized neoprene added a snaky futurism to tops and pants. Pugh pulled off a feat of cutting in tunics he called "modular," the same front and back. And, keen as he was to avoid the sci-fi tag that has been continually attached to his clothes, he still showed sinuous silvery pieces that clung to the body like thirty-first-century armor.
What Hogben's film highlighted was the fluidity and movement inherent in Pugh's clothing. A runway could never have done that—nor could the lookbook images that were circulated after the screening.