1 October 2010

UHU Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh
Spring/Summer 2011
Directed by Ruth Hogben
Presented by SHOWstudio

Whilst I am sure many readers will have already seen this short, made in collaboration with London-based filmmaker Ruth Hogben, for Gareth Pugh's Spring 2011 collection, I thought it would be interesting as a discussion point.  Film and fashion seem like a natural pairing, for fashion only truly exists in its pairing with the body, so being able to render the movement against the body is perhaps the most ideal way of portraying fashion, with film being secondary to live models.  However the partnership of fashion with film has often been an unsteady one.  Film could ostensibly be used to great success to compliment a story-driven collection, yet the reality is often of films that obscure rather than enlighten.  

The way I view this specific film is as an art project, in a similar vein to the majority of Hogben's work with SHOWstudio, and in that respect it is a natural progression for the likes of Pugh (indeed I also greatly enjoyed their last collaboration).  The pairing is perhaps understandable given his artistic background, and indeed such a background lends itself to comparisons with the new generation of British designers emerging in the 1990s.  The issue of wearability can often be a major concern, especially given much of the dramatics Pugh likes to employ, however judging from the still photographs that is certainly not overly the case in this instance.

Much of Pugh's early work can most aptly be described as wearable sculpture, creating a vision that was far from the more realistic (to put it bluntly) concerns that many young designers have, in terms of economic viability and sales.  Then again, there has been quite a lot of discussion over whether sponsorship and a harsher financial climate reduces creativity, however I would argue that such an argument is far too simplistic a reading.  Whilst compromises have to be made, it is something that every designer has to deal with, and working within specific boundaries does not necessarily staunch creativity, rather it inspires new ways of thinking.

I think the film works because Pugh's design has always had the dramatic showmanship that lends itself so well to the new medium.  Coupled with this is the fact that his clothing is created with a far more fluid conceptual design process, which means that such a film does not necessarily require a specific storytelling, but rather can presented in a more expressive manner.  Admittedly that could be viewed under certain circumstances as an unsteady aesthetic or 'voice', but Pugh's work has certainly always had a strong viewpoint.

I struggle to see many other designers being able to create a film such as this with as much success (although for me the second half is not as strong as the first).  Plot-driven fashion films have had mixed success, and more often than not can seemed rather forced (*cough*Chanel*cough*).  I think being able to approach the film as Hogben did, that is, aiming to display the clothing rather than some story furnished by the clothing, it is far more successful than many other attempts.  Admittedly it is an approach that may not work for the majority of designers, but with Pugh's work it is fascinating to watch.

Currently playing: Pump My Pumps - Dan Black 



  1. Such a futuristic look and then some.

  2. Gorgeous post, darling!
    Love Pugh's work!


  3. I love Pugh's work - it's fascinating. This work is stylish and meticulous, while being extremely fashion forward. Absolutely lovely!

  4. Ever since he relocated his shows to Paris, his clothes have gotten more wearable but still maintain their edge. These videos suit Pugh, I know what you mean about the Chanel ones. lol!

  5. so great to hear from you! hope you're feeling better, and let's keep in touch.

  6. Thanks Lord for giving the mankind SHOWstudio :)