Gareth Pugh’s name has been whispered with love and admiration out of the lips of many trendies and fashion stylists who have long yearned for a designer who is unafraid and possess unrestricted style.Â When Zouk invitedÂ Gareth and close friend Matthew Stone to hit the decks, JUICE grabbed the opp for a tÃªte-Ã -tÃªte withÂ the bad boy designerÂ before he went on to show Malaysia what it really means to party in style.
Hi, you’re Gareth Pugh?
Gareth Pugh: Yes, I am.
Would you say in order to be commercially successful you have to compromise your vision and ideas?
Not necessarily. I mean what I do in my shows isn’t solely what you get in showrooms – there are quite a lot of pieces from the catwalk that you wouldn’t be able to sell. So in that respect it’s quite free and for me, the shows should always remain pure.
Which is more fun for you?
Definitely stuff for the show.
How do you gauge what goes where?
Well there’s no real extreme. For the shows I’m not given any boundaries. You can go as far as you want to, and for the sales you take it right back down to like a t-shirt or a pair of tights. It’s kind of trying to sell the dream with the show and selling some clothes with the sales. You know you have to make a certain amount of sales to show, or continue to show in Paris. It’s very expensive so you have to have that kind of balance, and it’s something that I’m just learning. Being in Paris for 2 seasons I just realised how expensive it can be. We’re doing well in sales. It has increased from last season, so it’s looking good.
We’re suckers for juicy gossip and we heard you’re tying up with LVMH, are the rumours true?
There’s been no dialogue between myself and any of LVMH’s brands, specifically Dior Homme. We’ve never had any conversation with them directly at all. It was just through LVMH and even that, it was not a lot of money (that they sponsored) for a big company like that, and the dialogue between us was very brief. It was just like, “Do you want to do a menswear show, yes, here’s the money, okay thanks.” And that was it. I didn’t go around “for tea” (Laughs).
Do you have any rituals, superstitions or taboos that you practise before a show?
Not really. It’s not like Madonna before she starts a concert, we don’t all stand around in a circle and pray. We never ever allow photographers backstage at the show. That’s something I learnt very early on. When I first started out, not a lot of photographers wanted to come backstage and then there was a point where there were more photographers than there were models and dressers. Inadvertently it creates a kind of mysticism about what happens backstage and a lot of people are interested in seeing it. You work on something for so long, all of a sudden you only have 3 hours to put it together and you’ve got all these people in your way. That really stresses me out. So I can’t have that. It has to be a calm and mellow backstage.
Who would you like to kidnap as your muse?
I’ve always really liked Annie Lennox.
Does Gareth Pugh rock the turntables as well as the runway?
I’m not a DJ. (Laughs) I think that will become very evident very soon. There’s a club in London called Boombox and the guy who runs it had lots of different nights there. It was something that I just got asked to do. Richard, the guy who organises Boombox, is someone who likes to get not only DJs to come and play but he likes fashion designers and stylists to come.