Today ELLE meets Pugh at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden at which he is designing the costumes for Carbon Life, the latest work by the anti-ballet boundary-pushing dance choreographer Wayne McGregor.
Superstar producer Mark Ronson is composing the score and musicians including Boy George and Alison Mosshart are also involved. You wouldnt put my visual world in the same oral world as Mark Ronson, says Pugh, but Wayne likes that tension between two things, its kind of like two magnets.
It will come as no surprise that the costumes Pugh has designed for the most petite and delicate of ballerinas come in foreboding black, anchored by distorted, jutting protrusions. But aside from the costumes its Pughs creative metamorphosis that is most thrilling to watch unfurl. Its kind of throwing myself in at the deep end. He says. The stage is huge and its a great honour to be able to do it, but its also quite a daunting prospect.
Its difficult to imagine Pugh being daunted by anything; this is the designer who takes macabre delight in warping our perceptions of shape, fashion and gender. Yet in this environment - and working for someone else - he has had to surrender (a bit) of that control. I guess I have to let my Virgo tendencies wane a little bit ... I want everything to be perfect. I get to breathe down a lot of peoples necks when its my own thing, whereas with this, they really know what theyre doing here.
Pugh is traversing a foreign design landscape with a ballerinas health and safety paramount, Pugh has had to think about practicality possibly for the first time ever during the creative process. With this [the clothes] really needed to serve a purpose. [With a Gareth Pugh collection] I need my girls to walk in a straight line up-and-down a catwalk; its not really very demanding. When I was designing the pointe shoe they were very worried about health and safety. My version of the pointe shoe is not reall More