Gareth Pugh and stylist Katie Shillingford discuss their collaboration and inspirations for Pugh's electric A/W14 collection
Gareth Pugh’s A/W14 show was a hypnotic display of tiered shapes and bubbling pelts that pulled on collections past, tracing back through Pugh’s history of harlequins, distorted limbs and conceptual fabrics. From metallic, mirrored sculptures that echoed S/S11 to the wind-up doll he presented in 2005 for Fashion East, the show celebrated the sense of exploration and ultimately fun that runs through every Gareth Pugh collection, be it in the structural plastic sheeting, fluffy shearling coats or twisted trousers that morphed smoothly in boots and accessorised with conical hats, all rendered in a stark clinical white. The show was styled by AnOther’s Fashion Director Katie Shillingford, who has worked with Pugh since they met one another at Central Saint Martins. Here, AnOther speaks to both Pugh and Shillingford about the show.
Katie Shillingford on... styling direction
"Gareth's A/W14 collection marked a bit of a turning point but also a reflection on the past. Bringing in elements like the 'key' looks revisited ideas from his first collection shown in London at Fashion East. All of the fabrics were base fabrics and the fur was shearling – so the collection pushed his design and ideas in their purest form, almost like a work-in-progress. It was a very instinctive process for all of us."
Katie Shillingford on... fabric choices
"Gareth has always been great at taking and using materials out of context, for example the bin bags used in A/W13, and through highly involved techniques and man hours he transforms these materials into really incredible pieces. This season, a large part of the collection was made with these kind of found materials or base fabrics, normally seen in toiles. Dresses, coats, jackets and wraps made from plastic sheeting were layered up and interfacing fabric vilene (the fabric that often makes up protective clothing and garment bags) was used to create the big, structured silhouettes – like look number 1 and the plastic finale look, and in the calico, neoprene and PVC combinations."
Katie Shillingford on... headwear
"The hats were a little nod to Alejandro Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain and the hairnet pieces were a reference to the underside of a wig – symbolising the process rather than the end result. Everything that we were trying to do was to underline this idea of a process or means to something else, rather than a finished product, although it was also important that all these things were beautiful and remarkable. We both felt that the collection and the show should be true to Gareth and his origins, and as a friend I wanted to honour this."
Katie Shillingford on... ordered chaos
"We put the show together in a completely different way to how we normally do – we mixed everything up so textures were seen layered together, both in the looks themselves and in the running order too – so it became a sort of ordered chaos rather than separated into groups of fabrics or shapes. We wanted the silver to run throughout the collection to create little moments of reflection – little silver flashes amongst everything else that was a strict colour palette of white and off white."
Gareth Pugh on... a new perspective
"Clarity is important… though sometimes it is only through chaos that this clarity can reveal itself. This show was my attempt to begin to see things differently – to try and find some sort of truth in a constant swirl of opinions and ideas. This sounds very grand indeed, but essentially I felt the need to take things back to zero: to hit the reset button. The aim was simply to present an idea, a parody of a collection if you like, something that was both pure and raw; something that was bereft of literal reference, yet rich in intention. I hope this collection will be seen as a question rather than an answer, a proposition rather than something real or something tangible. It was an idea and that’s the point. It was fun, and that’s the point. It was a question, and that’s the point... and ultimately, isn't that the point?"
Text by Mhairi Graham