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July 31 2014

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Blasblog from Paris: A Front Row Flashback At Gareth Pugh

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When I took my seat at Gareth Pugh’s show, his menswear debut and the finale of the week, my mind suddenly raced back to when another British designer made his first steps into menswear. Due no doubt to some seating snafu, I was in the front row of John Galliano’s first-ever menswear show for his eponymous label in 2004. It was the one where a crew of the most major male models came out greased up and writhed around on the front row, old bed frames, wood boxes, and whatever other prop could be found on the runway. It was decadence and ecstasy and camp. It was very Galliano. But it was one of those fashion moments when you wouldn’t have expected anything less from a designer for his menswear debut. Pugh’s first ever men’s show, staged around a mobile of smashed glass, was equivalent. But it wasn’t because the male models engaged with the audience (at Galliano, Tony Ward asked me for a light as he cruised down the runway), but because of Pugh’s unwavering dedication to his aesthetic. The dark and heavily made-up boys stomped out in patent patchwork trenchcoats with the stiffest and highest of shoulders, the tightest of pants, and the toughest of combat boots. Many of the last looks were crafted from nail-pierced leather. It was a sci-fi journey into another world, where only the likes of Terence Koh and performance artist Casey Spooner could fit in. (I could hear them “ooh” and “aah” over each look, mentally planning personal orders.) Sure, very few people will dare to wear it, but then, I haven’t seen too many guys in the shredded booty shorts on that Galliano runway either. Later, at a dinner for Kim Jones’ own impressive debut at Dunhill, after the oft-inebriated Lily Allen toasted the designer, I got a bit of my own gossip: Many claim wearability wasn’t a factor in the least, but that this show was Pugh’s audition for LVMH (some say in the Dior Homme post currently occupied by Kris Van Assche). And the Galliano connection only deepens. (For complete coverage of the menswear collections, go to men.style.com.)

Photo: Marcio Madeira

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  1. akosua says:

    AMAZING COLLECTION!

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