Gareth Pugh SS2015 Collection is informed by an obsession with British folklore and its multitude of rites and rituals. The handwork, the ceremonial aspects, the playful and sometimes outlandish practices, and the unnerving notion of an outsider society, all deeply resonate with him.
He utilized large scale film installation, sound and visceral live performance (working with acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor) to connect the audience with not only the collection itself, but the emotion that went into creating the clothes. The opening installation - a stylized Stonehenge made up of 8 monolithic LED screens, presented an imposing cast of characters traditionally found throughout British folklore.
The second installation represented a darker more menacing vision: a Pagan anarchy, illustrating the oppositional forces - black and white, positive and negative, chaos and control that are all signature to his work. Here a live tornado created by artist Daniel Wurtzel consumed the space, while dancers performed before a huge screen of swirling chaos.
For Pugh, the final installation in the series was perhaps the most profound. The set opened with an original piece created by Wayne McGregor, and ended with the image of the phoenix, a timeless icon of rebirth and renewal.
From the delicate chiffon ribbons referencing summer rites and the raising of the maypole, or the hard graphic lines of pentagram harnesses that call to mind pagan ritual, to the tailoring pieces adorned by mother of pearl appliqué - a reference to Pearly Kings and Queens - this season the fabrics have a handmade quality. Sackcloth hessian, deconstructed cotton, and a specially woven linen jacquard come together to form a collection that is rooted in the visual codes of British folk tradition and the needlepoint philosophy of 'make do and mend.