Friday, May 8, 2009

Gareth Pugh A/W 09 at the Audi Fashion Festival

I was one of the lucky people who went to watch the runway debut of Gareth Pugh's A/W 09 collection last night. It was my first time attending a fashion show, and I loved every minute of it!

7pm: Me and my sis arrive at the Tent@Orchard outside Ngee Ann City, taking time to admire the facades and window displays of Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Chanel's displays have a pink-and-black theme; very chic and lovely. I fall in love with an unusual blue-green quilted Chanel 2.55 sling purse draped over a mannequin's arm in the store window. My sis points out a local fashion blogger, Dottie of Fashion Nation. She looks way prettier in person; her bangs and the blazer she is wearing are so cute. I know then that this is not going to be a 'normal' night.

It is immediately obvious that an event is about to take place, as there are people milling about. Not people like those you see on the street either. They are dressed in all kinds of stylish gear verging on the wacky, for it's Gareth Pugh the 'enfant terrible' of the British fashion world they are coming to see. I am particularly checking out the guys. I see one in a black cape/poncho-like coat. Very cool. My sis whispers to me that she's feeling 'out of place'.

7.05pm: We meet Hui Jun, mistakenly at the VIP entrance. We start chattering away, feeling a little nervous to be among these people. There is a palpable sense of excitement in the air. We receive small bottles of Evian water and decide to quench our thirst while waiting.

7.10pm: The designer, Gareth Pugh himself, passes by me as he swiftly enters the venue. I only have a fleeting impression but I'm sure it's him. I elbow my sis and she exclaims: 'What!' I whisper urgently: 'I think that's the designer!' It's too late though. No one else seems to have noticed.

7.15pm: We're told that we're at the wrong entrance so we make our way to the other one and start queueing. Jun fervently expresses the hope that guys at NUS FASS will dress as cool as those we are seeing. I feel cold air coming from inside the tent and it reminds me of London. Some photographers with huge cameras are constantly snapping away at the crowd. I seriously hope they're not going to use the photos for anything embarrassing. Feeling bored, we take our own photo while in the queue.

7.31pm: It's past 7.30pm (showtime) and we still haven't been allowed in. I inform Jun and my sis that fashion shows, as a rule, rarely start on time. By now the queue has snaked half-way around the tent (see video in subsequent post) and we are the first in line. Jun says it's lucky that we are 'early people' and I agree.

7.40pm: We are admitted into the tent and receive free bottles of Coke Light with specially-designed bejewelled Ashley Ishan labels. I guess this is the closest thing you'll get to a cocktail. The inside of the tent is much bigger and cooler than I expected and it's a little chaotic and confusing at first. I see lots of bright lights and photographers poised at the end of the long, white runway with huge cameras. We make our way to the seats where a free magazine featuring the previous night's Christian Lacroix gala show awaits us. We are in the third row in the block right next to the stage, the best spot possible for us (the front two rows are for VIPs). That's what you get for doing priority booking on the day it opens. People are still filling in and I'm pleasantly surprised to see the Fashion Nation girls sitting two seats away from us. I'm just soaking in the 'fashion show' atmosphere and feeling incredibly privileged. Photographers are still snapping away at us and I try to get used to it. We take another photo of ourselves seated, with the cool lighting on our faces.

7.55pm: People are finally getting settled down and the big screen starts playing an Audi advertisement. I wonder if I should ask the guy in front of me to remove his hat as I worry that it's obstructing my view. I think they should implement a rule against hats at fashion shows, cool as they may look. Thankfully it turns out that it's not that obstructive after all as I'm looking from another direction.

8pm: They start screening the conceptual video Pugh created to showcase his collection! I've seen this video before but it looks a thousand times more amazing and powerful on a big screen with piped-in music.

From this point on I kind of lose track of time. The video takes about 10 mins or so, and after that there's a slight pause. I stare at the stage in heavy anticipation, wondering how it's going to start. I thought that the model would enter from the side of the stage, but I was wrong. The backdrop actually splits into two, creating an entrance through which the first female model struts in. The audience applauds enthusiastically and THE SHOW BEGINS!

I really get a better sense of the textures, silhouettes and cuts of the garments. They look great in motion, particularly for certain pieces like a streaming black one. The styling of the models- wet, tousled hair, dark eye make-up and striking headpieces- makes them look as though they've stepped off another planet. Not to mention their towering height and the fact that many are wearing treacherously high heels. Awesome. I see one model slip a little and I hold my breath for a moment. I must say that they have a way of walking that distinguishes them from us mere mortals- the model strut, perhaps? I'm loving the exaggerated silhouettes, the futuristic, sci-fi look, the intriguing treatment of fabrics and materials, the puffiness, layering, sharp, angled cuts, shiny quilted triangular units, the dark gothic colours etc. I can see that the photographers are going crazy documenting the looks and many members of the audience are also snapping shots or taking videos. I'm too riveted on the pieces to do the same.

I only saw the women's collection at prior to this but Pugh also showed his first menswear pieces which are just as good as his womenswear. I really like the look of the slashed/ ripped black tanks layered under the heavier outerwear pieces, as well as the shiny black buckled boots. The guys look like the epitome of 'bad boys'.

Much sooner than I want, the show is ending and all the models come out for one last round on the runway. The applause is loud and well-deserved. Gareth Pugh appears to give a bow, looking much like one of his models, and the crowd goes crazy with the cheers. I confirm that it's the same person that I got a glimpse of before the show. I've seen him before on style sites like Jak and Jil, and he looks equally stylish and striking with his pale skin in person. How great that I passed with an inch of Gareth Pugh!

I think it's about 8.45 now. You'd think our night ends here but it doesn't. We take some time to get out and I see people in the industry mingling and networking in the entrance area of the tent. Some people are being interviewed as well. Still 'high' from the experience, we take a photo at the huge banner outside the tent and walk to the Heeren to do a bout of shopping.
Finally, we make our way to the MRT station and are surprised to see one of the male models going home as well. He looks more normal but still rather mannequin-like. At home, I enjoy some of the cold Coke Light before going to bed.

The next day (this morning), I wake up to find a look from Pugh's menswear collection on the front of URBAN and a cool feature on him. The perfect ending to my first fashion show experience :) Oh yes, my sis thanks me for pulling her along as she likes Pugh much better now.

Yay! Runway photos from Diva Asia. Videos coming up in the next few posts. Hope you enjoyed reading!

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