Gareth Pugh has been designing his eponymous avant garde label since 2005, but he’s hardly a household name. The London-based 29-year-old is known for his dark, edgy designs and exaggerated silhouettes in a variety of wild materials (read: PVC), and his creations often blur the lines between art and fashion. He even has opted to show cutting-edge fashion films in lieu of runway presentations during Fashion Week in Paris.
Lately, however, some of the biggest stars in the world have been incorporating Pugh’s designs into their wardrobes — namely Beyonc and Lady Gaga — which has brought his work to the attention of a whole new audience. He’s currently collaborating with MAC cosmetics for a line that debuts in November, so he’s about to become even more high-profile.
I chatted with Pugh at the launch of his MAC collection last night, and he shared his thoughts on dressing Beyonc, commercial success and the one person on the planet he’d most like to dress.
Recently so many huge stars have been wearing your looks. What has that done for your business, and have you been getting a lot more attention because of it?
It brings what I do to a new audience. When we first worked with Beyonc, it was fun to witness a new reaction among a new crowd. Beyonc has a very different crowd than what would normally follow me. When I choose to work with these people, it’s not a business decision, it’s more about if I like what they do. Beyonc is an amazing performer, she’s great live, is a really great person, and she’s at the top of her game so it’s great for me to do these things with her. However, I don’t do it so that I can sell more dresses.
The thing with working with big names like that is it’s good, but it can also have a very adverse effect. Like when Olivier Theyskens started working with Madonna, everybody saw it so much that when it was available in shops nobody wanted to buy it. It can be a good thing and I do it very tongue-in-cheek but I don’t think it’s inwards to really be commercially successful, I just kind of see it as a fun aside to what I do. It’s great and I love doing it, but it’s not because of any commercial motivation.
Did she come to you with a certain look in mind?
I very rarely make something specifically for Beyonc, she always goes through our archives or picks something we’ve already made. She brings herself to them. She normally just borrows this or that and really understands how I work, because I really don’t have time to make something from scratch. They’re very happy to just kind of use what they can.
Is there anyone else you would like to dress who’s in the public eye like that?
Photo via Imaxtree