Gareth Pugh’s Fashion Exhibition

Published September 5, 2014

PHOTO COURTESY OF BILLY FARRELL AGENCY

Experimental British designer Gareth Pugh’s multimedia installation/fashion presentation at Pier 36, Lexus Design Disrupted, earned the ultimate NYFW honor last night:  it is the only show Sarah Jessica Parker will be attending this week.

“This is it, my one night out during Fashion Week,” Parker told us. A longtime supporter of the dance community, Parker particularly enjoyed the modern dance component of the installation: “I thought it was lovely and innovative and held the audience’s attention because it was so interesting.”

Pugh, who described himself as “obsessed with British folklore, its rites and rituals” explored his recurring themes of chaos/control, particularly in his ethereal dresses. His punk-influenced, fashion-as-performance-art aesthetic morphed into a three-act, nonlinear film projected onto enormous, “immersive” screens.  Pugh’s imagery—feathers, animal horns, lightning—evoked anarchic and pagan symbolism with the models’ movements—from fluid to combative—culminating in the rising of an angelic phoenix.

Parker chatted with Catherine Keener while we spoke to Maggie Gyllenhaal, who described Pugh’s installation as “great.”  The event also drew several supermodels, including Coco Rocha, Amber Valletta, and Tyson Beckford.

“It was very different, not what I expected,” Beckford told us. “I never did anything like that in my career, but would have loved to do it.”  Beckford said that he’s walking in a show on Sunday, “but I can’t tell you the name yet because it’s supposed to be a surprise. Then I’m throwing a party on Sunday with all the Fashion Week models. But no press allowed!” he laughed.

Amber Valletta, wearing a draped Stella McCartney sheath, was fighting a cold. “Hopefully I’ll get better fast so I can go out and see more shows. This was incredible,” said Valletta, who currently stars on the TNT series, Legends.

Over 1,200 revelers sipped champagne and nibbled on caviar and lobster bites as an electronic trap soundtrack reverberated through the cavernous space.  In the first trend of this Fashion Week, a preponderance of male guests wore knockoffs of Pharrell Williams’ iconic hat by Vivienne Westwood—a designer to whom Pugh has drawn comparisons.

For more from New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015, click here.