Gareth Pugh made a triumphant return to London Fashion Week in February 2015 for his 10th anniversary. Staged in the V&A Museum, the British designer had spent years in Paris and New York, presenting his collections in those cities. To everyone’s delight, Gareth stayed. In September 2015 he occupied Brewer Street Car Park in a fiery-red-hued ode to Soho—where the car park is situated. This past February, his third consecutive London showing, the show took place at Freemason’s Hall. The collection was packed with metaphors.
Women’s rights and issues are, rightfully, one of the most prevalent topics in our daily discussions (if not, it should be). The economic, political, social inequality, pay disparity, reduction to gender-specific roles are the main points of discussion. The United State of Women, held in Washington D.C., was the other day. Barack and Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Kerry Washington, Oprah, amongst others took to the stage to detail how these issues will need to be tackled.
Spotlight will be on Washington D.C. once more this November when the Americans will vote for the next President of the United States. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, is the first female presumptive nominee for a major political party. Ever. In the 227 year history of presidentship in America, not one has been a woman. You couldn’t help but notice Gareth’s ode to Clinton in his collection. The cobalt blue of the Democratic Party in sharply-tailored skirt-suits and pantsuits, printed with embossed stars—the American flag. Unmistakable, no?
The collection was an entirely well-tailored affair, opening with Marie-Agnès Gillot, prima ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet, flanked by two lithe, gentlemanly bodyguards. With the swagger she strutted with, they were unnecessary. But in the context of the presentation as a whole, they were imperative. This women is very much in charge. Her double-breasted coat, with shoulder pads and flared trousers, aviators and harsh make-up—it was haunting to say the least.
Then surfaced the models, with pristine hair-dos, plum lips, and most interestingly, elastic bands strapped across their faces. The objective: to create pillow faces. For a woman with agency, is plastic surgery the answer? This was much debated after the show.
Whichever woman has the budget to splurge on immaculate, sublimely-tailored suiting, dresses and the like are in for a fine treat with this collection. Double-breasted coats, jackets and dresses. Wardrobe staples that could slot into any woman’s working life. The models toted briefcases, wore Hannibal Lecter-inspired hockey masks. The Gareth Pugh woman is a boss bitch, as they say.
Severe would be an apt word to capture this collection with. It was severe. The tailoring, the make-up, the execution. It was a theatre spectacle, an unforgettable one. It was boardroom dressing at its finest. The women who will buy this collection will be CEOs, CFOs, businesswomen alike. Much of it made you exclaim a firm “yes,” while the rest had you question “is this regressive?” ‘No,’ is the answer to that.
Statement and saleability were two coexisting term in the collection. The power of women was portrayed under those two headings. Power emanated from those outfits, it was almost tangible. Above all else, it got people talking about women’s rights; that’s the big take away from this collection.
Photo Credit: dazeddigital.com