Gareth Pugh is uprooting his Paris Fashion Week show to New York, where he is planning to shake things up with an "immersive live performance" involving video and live dancers.
"Fashion is very stuck in its ways, and I wanted to present something that would make people think, and maybe move the needle a bit," the English designer told the New York Times. "I know it’s a big risk," he added. "And I’m worried. But I think it’s good to light a fire under your bum every once in a while.”
New York is traditionally seen as one of the most conservative fashion weeks in the calendar. It represents new territory for Pugh, who has been showing in the more avant-garde friendly Paris for the last six years. Fortunately, Pugh has a big budget to bring his avant-garde vision to life – the whole event is being bankrolled by Lexus, which initially approached the designer to work on a joint project.
Pugh is keeping mum on what the performance will be for now, but he's making no secret of his big ambitions. The show won't showcase his entire SS15 collection, but he's aiming to do something a lot grander than just sending clothes down the runway.
"I know this is a business, and we need to sell clothes, but it is also about image and inspiration, and sometimes a live show can miss the mark a bit," Pugh said. "The lights go up, the model walks out, and you lose control of it. It’s really important to not only communicate, ‘This is a nice dress’ or ‘This is a cool trouser,’ but to sell the dream."
The designer is no stranger to putting on a show that breaks the fourth wall between audience and designer. For his SS14 show, he piped chlorine into the show space to send the audience into a muggy, trance-like mood, while last year's Selfridges exhibition allowed fashion fans to wear Oculus Rift headsets and quite literally enter Pugh's world. We only hope that New York is ready for him.
For more insight into fashion's purveyor of "dark euphoria", read our Summer 2014 longread feature with Pugh here.
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