Ever since the beginning of his career when his graduate collection landed a spot on the cover of the April 2004 issue of Dazed, Gareth Pugh has been on an upward trajectory, continually celebrated for his fantastical and futuristic creations. This week, he hit up Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week, sending his stellar Eliogabalo opera-inspired SS17 collection down the runway.
“Presenting this collection in Beijing felt like the culmination of an epic creative process,” said Pugh. “This collection was originally inspired by an opera I worked on this year in Paris, and so this show was really about reframing the spectacle and grandeur of the Palais Garnier against a powerful contemporary backdrop, creating a moment for our audience that was evocative and memorable.”
This opera follows the story of a child emperor in Rome who appointed himself sun god, and you could see this inspiration come through in the gold detailing, symbols of the sun and Bridget Riley-esque stripes that resembled its rays. At the same time, the silhouettes of the sundresses and caftans made models look like high priestesses.
“We felt the story of the opera was very relevant in a lot of ways,” said the designer after his London Fashion Week show in September. “How it talks about how power corrupts and how greed can just become a monster. There’s this whole Trump thing going on and it’s kind of interesting to think of this emperor who was a child tyrant. He was kind of salacious, he was loud, he was garish, everybody hated him, he was kind of a carnival emperor.”
Head to the gallery above to see more images of this collection.