Portmanteau Commentary: Gareth Pugh - Genius of Duality

As a lover of fashion-as-performance-art of the likes of the late Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, Gareth Pugh's collections found an immediate place in my heart. The textured balance of light and dark, the strange visualisation of the duality of dark vibrancy and androgyny make Gareth Pugh's pieces really something to get your heart race pulsing. His recurring theme of black and white make him even more popular in Lira Leirner's fashion realm.



If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that black and white are a recurring theme in my discussion as well as my artwork. For instance, I've previously discussed in "Black and White is the new [insert visual file of black and white]" whether the word-marriage of the antonyms Black and White still stand for the visual color they are meant to represent, or whether it been smeared with a layer of greasy misuse of by self-projecting colonizers, getting soaked up by the bred of language which we feed on, hence making us choose to eat it fully, grease and grain, or not at all.
The artwork I have hanging in my hallway and that most draw me in galleries and exhibitions (such as at the Byam Shaw Central St Martin exhibition) are always black and white. Are they really colors? Or are they in fact simply the quickest visual representation of antonyms, duality, contrast, antithesis, opposition, and disparity?



Take a guess at how badly I want a pair of these... sigh.

What further fascinates me is not only the exploration of darkness and light but also the connection it makes to the written word and its implication of fact. "Here you have it, very clearly, black on white."

I therefore always liked to imagine that once it is white on black, the authority and meaning of the written word and truth itself becomes distorted. I did so in the application of my writing on paintings and canvas and you may have noticed that I use the hexadecimal color 999999 for the text on my blog - that is because I very consciously do not want to be conveying a sense of truth, which I have come find subjective. I therefore chose my own personal favorite shade of gray, making it clear that it is MY truth. The usage of both non-colors with their vast array of implications and cultural baggage provides a great field for Gareth Hugh (and me) for creative expression and exploration of light and darkness, which in his case ties into his autobiographical connection with the extreme London club scene, where night is daytime in the sense of the implication that it is during daytime that we are awake.

I feel that bloggers and writers can very much associate with the notion of this. Full fleshed bloggers don't sleep. We write and night, black on white, reversing the order of a learned 'natural' cycle.

Having started working as a ccostume designer for the English National Youth Theatre at the tender age of 14, the theatrical foundation was set to create a fashion genius in the oldest sense of the word - barely commercially viable, he has been quoted in Icon Magazine (December 2006) to have said that he has yet to sell a dress. This has widely been attributed to the "unwearableness" of his theatrical pieces apart from in music videos and live stage tours. His pieces have been worn by Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue and Rhyana. I'm not sure what this guy is complaining about. Luckily, it seems he has been creating more wearable pieces (according to British Vogue) alongside his wild and amazing catwalk experimentation.



However, this is another point that makes Gareth Pugh undeniably attractive to me as a subject to write about. My own pieces are very wearable, so I wonder how that impacts the exclusivity and outlandishness of a piece.


After all these personal connections, interests and meanings that are to a great extent projected, what is indeed intended by Gareth Pugh's collection leaves us with beautifully weird creations of the best kind and I truly hope more people outside the fashion industry (Anne Wintour is apparently a great supporter - again - what is he complaining about?) start realizing he exists and that his wearable and commercial collections don't force him to lose the edge he brought with him from his circumstantial anger and theatrical routs.