timBLANKS: sometime during the genesis of gareth pugh’s latest collection, the wizard of oz bumped into predator. the result was the kind of showy fashion farrago that has been a london staple since…oh, at least since stonehenge was built. coco rocha marched out in a samurai dress made from zippers, and we were off. the zipper peplum, the zipper panniers, and the huge zipper shoulder pads were exploded components of what might almost have been a joan crawford costume, if she’d ever gotten to play the predator queen of outer space. those famously exaggerated crawford shoulders could also be inferred from a hooded gray flannel cape, or in-furred from the huge, shaggy goat-hair “epaulets” on a wrapped coat.
pugh set out to make his models look like warrior women, emphasizing shoulders throughout with, first, the zips, then the flannel, the goat hair, and finally, polyhedra in leather or pvc. what that all pointed to was the weirdly hollywood-ish glamour of the collection, recasting familiar items with diva-esque excess, hard edges, and a little wit: a tunic dress made entirely from safety pins, for instance; or a white coat-dress with a bolero back, also trimmed in safety pins; or almost any of the pieces that found creative things to do with all that goat hair. the fact that many of the shapes were surprisingly basic under the decorative add-ons (a quilted wind coat or a voluminous parka made up of polyhedra looked positively commercial) only made it clearer that pugh is the latest in an illustrious line of british designers for whom the show’s the thing. the partisan crowd shrieked with glee. when pugh played gary glitter’s chant, “d’you wanna be in my gang?” at the finale, there was no question about it.