Our October cover story concept was dreamt up by Gareth Pugh and Nick Knight. Starting with the sculptural elements from Gareth's a/w 08 collection, we wanted to focus on the grey zipped pieces that opened the February show. Nick was interested in mixing Gareth’s very hard-edged structures with some kind of organic and natural element- a woodland landscape. Gareth especially made horse armour for Castiano, the Royal Dutch Friesian horse who was shot in the studio and the woodland was shot beforehand by Nick and his team in Richmond park.
One of the season’s top girls, Abbey Lee modelled for the shoot and was covered in an array of unsavoury hair and make-up products including clay, charcoal, treacle and sand to create an Amazonian, warrior mood by make-up artist Alex Box and hair stylist Martin Cullen. Abbey proved to be a real trooper and accepted the role of warrior swamp girl with real gusto. We all looked on in awe as she happily struck her poses whilst being burdened by an excruciatingly heavy safety pin dress (probably not far off her own weight!) and allowed Martin to pour treacle on her hair.
In addition to the uncomfortable clothes and sticky, heavy hair and make-up, I really wanted our heroine to have long, jagged talons that looked as if she had just crawled through a swamp. I think our manicurist, Sophie Robson, thought we were joking when we told her to burn the fake nails before applying them, but we soon won her round! She cut long acrylics into a fork, like a snake’s tongue, burnt the edges and then spray painted the nails before applying. The process was time consuming but worth it!
We decided to feature Gareth in Dazed right after his February show and when the news was announced that he won the Andam award, the story seemed even more perfectly timed. I’ve been friends with Gareth since we were at college and working on shows since his debut at Kashpoint so it’s incredibly exciting to be going to Paris with him- we have kind of grown into what we’re both doing at the same time. I love working on his shows, visiting the studio in the months beforehand, trying on the toiles and helping to create his woman. We’re great friends and somehow it just works.