Gareth Pugh unveils his avant garde vision at Florence Fashion Week

Gareth Pugh unveils his avant garde vision at Florence Fashion Week

British designer, Gareth Pugh, makes a dazzling debut as guest designer at Florence Fashion Week.
Gareth Pugh, the uncompromising young Brit who bestrides the sci-fi world of cyber-Goth style, has made a dazzling debut as the guest womenswear designer at Florence Fashion Week
The organisers of the prestigious event had promised Pugh 'plenty of space for fashion experimentation' and the 29-year-old made full use of the facilities.

See Gareth Pugh's spring/summer 2011 collection

He stunned onlookers with his hi-tech vision of a 21st century fashion presentation, previewing a new cinematic collaboration with Ruth Hogben, and unveiling a capsule collection of designs which mixed his otherworldly vision with inspirations from the centuries-old tradition of Florentine religious art and design, in saturated Catholic shades of blue and gold.

The designs included a slice of azure chiffon attached to a classic Little Black Dress; a strong-shouldered jacket with flared peplum reminiscent of Papal vestments; and a gleaming, fit-and-flare, armour-like carapace dress of gold, fishscale sequins.

Gareth Pugh on film versus catwalk

The pieces, which Pugh described as a 'mood board', give a hint of the autumn/winter 2011 collection he will show at the Paris prêt-à-porter season on March 2.

Pugh, the son of a policeman from Sunderland, and a former ballet dancer, is one of the most challenging and forward-thinking designers to emerge from the hotbed of talent that is Central St Martins fashion college.

He rose through the ranks of young designer platforms such as Fashion East and NewGen at London Fashion Week, drawing worldwide attention for his dark and bizarre theatrical aesthetic, even once luring American Vogue's Anna Wintour to a front row seat.

Pugh has been showing his collections in Paris since winning the Andam prize in 2008. A renowned trailblazer for non-catwalk fashion presentations, Pugh is constantly experimenting with multi-media forms of expression. At the Paris prêt-à-porter season last month, his spring/summer 2011 ready-to-wear collection was shown in an 11 minute black and white feature-ette, also directed by Ruth Hogben, and featuring the unconventional model, Kristen McMenamy, 45, and a 16-year-old male ballet dancer. The two were photographed, in dazzling silver, grey and black and white signature, laser-edge Gareth Pugh designs, in a series of dramatic, flashing jump-cuts and concertina-ed images which continually expanded and contracted, to a futuristic soundtrack composed by Matthew Stone.

His clothes have been worn by Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Daphne Guinness, Anna Della Ruso, Leigh Lezark and Kylie Minogue.