Pugh and his Posse Take Paris

Gareth Pugh’s debut men’s show Sunday night at the Palais de Tokyo—the finale of Paris’s four day Fall/Winter 2009 menswear calendar—was the dark cherry atop a richly stylish man cake.  True, before his show he had promised a surprise—a new way with embroidery. But the pants and shredded tanks Pugh conjured for men’s, densely studded with the spikey ends of nails, matched the kind of labor intensive technique typically reserved for Haute Couture while transforming the menacing intensity that Pugh has made all his own with his women’s collections from the start. It was all this labor, presumably, that made for the hour-long delay, and great expectations.


Delphine Arnault-Gancia, the daughter of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault and deputy managing director of Christian Dior, braved the show’s hour-long delay to sit in the front row. She’s rumored to have been the angel in the wings for the entire production, spurring the kind of king-making speculation young designers like Pugh thrive on and bolstering rumors that he will succeed Kris Van Assche at Dior Homme. Apparently it was Karl Lagerfeld, a fixture at Dior Homme from the Hedi Slimane days, who introduced Arnault to Pugh’s work. Pugh was also the winner of France’s 150,000-Euro Andam Award in 2008, which enabled him to move his women’s show from London to Paris last season. And he will be back here with his women’s collection in March.


Pugh’s mini triangular patchwork, like a crazy quilt in shiny black leather, was worked into skintight pants and sharply waisted jackets with pagoda shoulders. It’s not exactly office tailoring, but it did make Casey Spooner’s must-have list.  The Fischerspooner frontman was sporting a brand new bleach-blonde do he got backstage at the Romain Kremer show earlier that day, and had a list of six looks from Pugh’s show he said he had to have. “I love fashion for it’s unuseability,” said Spooner. “I’ve been wearing Gareth’s clothes since I walked in one of his shows in 2005. I want the patchwork suit for stage, the grey silvery leather trench for personal, the fur vest, and I’ve destroyed my shredded pants so I need a new pair.” Daphne  Guinness, another Pugh devotee, was wearing pieces from his  black and white checkerboard spring collection including the black and white tights to match her two-tone hair. “He’s one of the most talented designers around,” said Guinness in Paris this week to put the finishing touches on her scent for Comme des Garçons. “It’s based on  memories about parts of my childhood,” she said of the fragrance which will debut in late March.