Gareth Pugh A/W 15 by Ruth Hogben
Dark, striking, fashion horror. The essence of designer Gareth Pugh’s work communicated by his artist of choice, Ruth Hogben. The short depicts the lead going through several forms: Innocence, self-destruction, corruption, demonisation, and finally ascension. Immediately, the framing is clearly Hogben: Uncomfortably close and dark, with limited use of colour. The effect is further accentuated by the vertical ‘iphone’ crop, likely to be shown on a vertical screen. The soundtrack begins with pulsating noise, with flickering in the film added to match the frequency of certain overtones. As the narrative of the film picks up, the sound becomes more dynamic, but still remains a constant grind.
The whole piece manages to be both a constant reveal, and a constant transformation. The short could be interpreted as an expression of life: The white form symbolising innocence, the degradation with age as actress Aymeline Valade cuts her own hair, followed by the death: The red paint doing more to create a sense of negative space on the body around it, making Valade appear even more skeletal. Following death is the judgement: visions of a fiery hell and of the sin, and finally the ethereal form of the angel, both very Catholic in their depiction. We can compare Pugh/Hogben’s ethereal image to the painting Archangel Michael and fallen angels (Giordano 1666).
The themes of self-destruction featured early in the short could also be a critique of the Catholic church’s impression of original sin. Throughout the entire line (‘Gareth Pugh A/W 15’ 2015), we see motifs of violence in expanding Catholicism, with the red cross on the faces of the models representative of both the crucifixion, and alongside the loose geometric forms of the pieces themselves, imagery of the Crusaders. (Jena Codex 15th century).
Giordano, L 1666 Archangel Michael and fallen angels, Wikimedia commons, viewed 19th September 2015,
‘Gareth Pugh A/W 15’ 2015, Harper’s Bazaar, 21st February 2015, viewed 20th September 2015,
Artist unknown 15th Century The battle between the Hussite warriors and the Crusaders, Wikimedia commons, viewed 19th September 2015,