Gareth Pugh AW16: Corporate Cannibal

This season, we were delighted to showcase Gareth Pugh’s AW16 collection. A highlight in the Fashion Scout schedule, international fashion press, bloggers and celebrities gathered at the Freemasons’ Hall to see the collection presented in The Grand Temple. Fashion Scout caught up with Gareth immediately after his show.

The first designer to showcase in The Grand Temple since Giles Deacon in SS06, Gareth Pugh made full use of his opportunity, enhancing the room’s natural magnificence with barely-there lighting, illuminating only the centre of the room and the long, thin catwalk stretching right from the organs in the Temple to the end of the Vestibule.

Guests were kept darkness before the catwalk began; ripples of excitement passed through the room as an ominous Mathew Stone remix of 'Corporate Cannibal' by Grace Jones began to play, reverberating throughout the Grand Temple. 

"Pleased to meet you, pleased to have you on my plate"

Presenting the epitome of female strength, Gareth Pugh’s catwalk opened with Principal Danser of the Paris Opera Ballet, Marie-Agnes Gillot, walking purposefully down the catwalk, then draping herself across the central throne with absolute ownership. She was accompanied by two male attendees, whose presence was pale by comparison. The models then followed, parading the catwalk before their leader who remained steely, cold and corporate.

The traditional military coat was given an authoritative update with double-breasted camel coats embellished with golden rivets. Coats were matched with flared woolen trousers, assimilating vintage military insignia which created a thoroughly modern look.  

Midway through the show, Pugh displayed a collection of Americana themed garments. Decked out in royal blue and studded with large white stars, the models paced the catwalk, cold eyes staring into the distance as their hands were stuck in the pockets of 80s padded-shouldered power jackets or held rigidly at the sides of imposing, feminine coats.

Severely and painfully defined cheekbones

Pugh's make-up team, headed by Val Garland, used elastic string across the models' faces to create severely and painfully defined cheekbones, combined with glossed burgundy lips and oversized aviator sunglasses the models were given a sinister otherworldly look. 

Accessories played a significant part in Pugh’s collection, many models wore stiff felt circle on the back of their heads which was paired with dark leather gloves, the perfect accessory for these power hungry succubi. Some were chained to leather briefcases emblazoned with illuminati-esque symbols, with large pearl earpieces to complete the corporate image.

Power hungry succubi

The final touch to the eerie mood was a standout accessory, the Hannibal Lector-esque masks. In shades of leather complimenting the models’ outfits, these structured masks created revealed Gareth Pugh’s AW16 woman as a femme fatale who is prepared to do anything in order to get the power she deserves. We caught up with Gareth after the show:

Fashion Scout: What inspired you to showcase your AW16 collection at Freemasons’ Hall with Fashion Scout?

Gareth Pugh: ‘I wanted to show this collection in the home of a very established fraternal society. It made a lot of sense to me to present a woman as the master of ceremonies who owned it and you wouldn’t want to mess with her, because you know you wouldn’t. It’s kind of what we wanted to do from the word go and able to help pull it all together. It hasn’t been easy but I think it’s worked.’


Fashion Scout: It's definitely worked! How did it feel having a female model sit on the Freemasons’ throne?

Gareth Pugh: ‘We knew when we asked about the chair we knew it would be hit with some trepidation. It’s really great that Freemason’s were so down with it, it’s not sacrilegious, it’s not even really contentious, it’s just great that they were so open to it. That’s what the Masons are about, passing on a lineage of ideas, craft and creativity, so it’s important that they’re open to those things. It’s heartening to know that they are.’

Writer: Elizabeth Renfrey
Editor: Fiona Nicholls
Photographer/s: [scrolling gallery] Oliver Savage [header image] Michelle Marshall