The Heart of Soho: Gareth Pugh's S/S16 Video

As Gareth Pugh shows his S/S16 collection in London, we present an accompanying short film directed by longtime collaborator Ruth Hogben and styled by Katie Shillingford, exclusively on AnOther

"When you went to Saint Martins' library on a Friday afternoon, you could hear this dull bassy sort of thudding music from the strip club underneath," Gareth Pugh says. He's remembering his years spent studying at Central Saint Martins on London's Charing Cross Road, the back of which building was pressed up against Soho, and the memory marks the beginning of his enduring relationship with London's dark, salacious underbelly. "It’s that higgledy-piggledy ramshackleness that I love about Soho."

Love is not too strong a word – Soho is the figure at the centre of Pugh's S/S16 collection, and the pieces in it resonate like a flickering, carnal, noisy Saturday night in the area's narrow cobbled streets. The collection is his second since returning to the London show schedule from seven years in Paris and a brief sojourn to New York, but as the first in the British Fashion Council's new show space in Soho's Brewer Street car park, this feels like the one that truly marks his reinstatement here.

The short film which accompanies the collection, directed and styled by Pugh's longtime collaborators Ruth Hogben and Katie Shillingford respectively, is a thudding and flashing ode to Soho and all of the creatures of the night who pass through it. At its blazing centre the protagonist, an Amazonian pole dancer covered from head to toe in paillettes, stalks proudly through Brewer Street, gathering momentum like a human disco ball. She's a distillation of the collection in human form – glittering, animalistic, a little bit lewd. "She told us that by day she was in the oil and gas trade, but by night she's a pole dancer," Pugh says, and the powerful juxtaposition of trade with sex feels entirely appropriate. As Soho's renowned sex shops are sold off one by one to opportunistic real estate buyers, Pugh's collection is a celebration of all that it has been. 

Visit AnOthermag.com on Tuesday to read a longform feature about the collection, with Pugh's own reflections.

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