What a way to make a comeback! Gareth Pugh has exploded back onto the fashion scene with a powerful ‘visual album’ dubbed The Reconstruction, starring activist Sakeema Crook, musicians Rina Sawayama and IAMDDB, and principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, Matthew Ball.
Made in collaboration with Nick Knight, the ambition and imaginative scope of this project is more than impressive. Built around the designer’s first collection since buying back his trademark in March 2020, the visual album comes accompanied by a feature-length ‘making of’ documentary and a fundraising exhibition running throughout London Fashion Week at Christie’s London, with will raise money for leading domestic violence charity Refuge.
Pugh described The Reconstruction as a “searing response to world events”. Freed from the convention of a catwalk, Pugh let his imagination soar, using his models almost as installations – tapping the talents of visionary make-up artists Isaac Poleon, Ana Takahashi and Lauren Michelle Pires to enhance the other-worldly qualities of his subjects. Pugh then spun these extreme looks off for a commercial jersey collection available to his customers.
This multi-faceted, multi-layered experience that blends art, image-making, commerce and philanthropy could not have been achieved with a conventional catwalk. After sitting through plenty of lacklustre fashion films, Pugh’s effort also represents a high point of fashion creativity in the time of Covid. “Right now, there are no rules. There are no limits. We are being offered an opportunity to invent the future.” Go for it, Gareth.
by Claudia Croft
Photography by Nick Knight. Purchase tickets for Gareth Pugh’s ‘The Reconstruction’ exhibition at Christie’s London here.