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Gareth Pugh’s Spring 2011 Video Makes Critics Wonder Again Whether Runway Shows Are Necessary

Gareth Pugh S/S 2011 Collection - Director: Ruth Hogben from SHOWstudio on Vimeo.

Editors thought Gareth Pugh would put on a runway show of his spring 2011 collection in Paris until he told outlets the day before that no photographers would be allowed. Instead of a runway show, he showed invited guests an eleven-minute film of his new collection starring Kristen McMenamy and created by ShowStudio’s Ruth Hogben. Pugh has shown films instead of runway shows in the past, and while he says they don’t save him time or money, they do save him the stress of uncertainty associated with a live show.

“With a show, a lot rides on that very small amount of time and the whole thing comes down to image,” Mr. Pugh said. “If a model trips or has a problem with shoes, that is the thing that endures. It is liberating for a designer not to have to worry about a show. You can get the models to be even more expressive and do it all in a more concise way.”

Of course, Pugh recognizes that fashion, which embraces all change but the technological, is afraid of this kind of thing. So he provides runway images of each look in the collection to keep people from getting too scared. Assigning seats to establish the hierarchy inherent in runway shows, on which editors thrive, probably also helps.

This season, Pugh’s film sparked the question a major critic seriously raises once every twelve months or so: Are runway shows necessary? Suzy Menkes explored it this time:

“It’s like going from theater to cinema — and I absolutely believe it is going to happen for three reasons,” said Mr. Knight, the great originator and instigator of fashion live on film.

“Firstly, it is a true artistic expression that the designers can control,” he said. “Secondly they can get so many more people, from 300 to three million. And because — although it hasn’t happened yet — designers will want to sell their clothes.”

Also, it’s a huge pain in the ass for the industry to have to trek to four cities twice a year looking at the clothes all day every day! Check out Pugh’s spring 2011 film and think about whether you’d like to see more of this, or the runway show seems like a better format for new collections. We like that instead of having a girl lying on a sooty bedsheet writhing her clothes off, Pugh has McMenamy standing up, making intimidating movements, and wearing pants.

Is a Runway Show Really Necessary? [IHT]
Gareth Pugh RTW Spring 2011 [WWD]

Gareth Pugh’s Spring 2011 Video Makes Critics Wonder Again Whether Runway Shows Are Necessary