The first time we experienced Gareth Pugh’s genius up close and personal was at his show in London in February 2007, when he wowed us with his fantastical harlequin/club kid fashion fairytale (and made us giggle at the sight of Anna Wintour almost getting conked in the head by a floating black balloon, which was deftly deflected at the last possible second by Hamish Bowles).
Black balloons continue to figure prominently in Mr. Pugh’s imagination, as witnessed by his latest outing, a video installation directed by Ruth Hogben that debuted at Milk Studios during New York Fashion Week, which we covered here last week and which you can see here at SHOWstudio.
The Fashion Informer caught up with the always charming Pugh backstage at said installation, where he was seated in a very official, Meet the Press-style antechamber off the pitch black video space, outfitted with director’s chairs and sleek black leather lounges, upon which sat Suzy Menkes, Susie Bubble and a host of other London-based well-wishers.
But before the Brits descended en masse, we nabbed a few minutes with our favorite fashion Goth (sorry, Rick!) to talk music, movies and manscaping must-haves.
What's in current rotation on your iPod?
I don’t have an iPod. Controversial [laughs]! I don’t listen to anything when I’m in transit. In my studio I’ve got a laptop. I’ll give you four songs I’m kind of into: Joan Osborne’s “One of Us,” The Cranberries “Zombie,” Lucinda Williams, “Come On.” And Hole, “Violet.” Top four!
What was your nickname as a kid and what's your nickname now?
A nickname when I was a kid? They were all really offensive because I got picked on really badly in school [laughs]. Now…do I have one? I don’t know. Maybe you want to ask my friends. I don’t know. They’re in there [points to other room].
What movie has had the biggest impact on you?
Quite a few that I’ve seen that are quite beautiful. These are very difficult questions. My group is so surprised that I’ve never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey. But I’ve never seen it. Favorite films… I love The Color Purple. I love The Color Purple.
What grooming or beauty item can you not live without?
There are a few [laughs]. I live and die by MAC Studio Fix. Amazing. Crème de la Mer. I recently gotten given some and I’m very, very pleased about that. Black eyeliner, black nail polish. I got given some KO Knock Out – it’s a new brand, and it’s matte. It’s amazing. Although I haven’t got it on today. I think the guy who invented it’s in New York so I’m going to try and stock up before I go back to London. It’s completely black, like blackboard paint. It’s amazing.
What freaks you out?
In a day-to-day way? The one thing I really can’t stand – it really puts my teeth on edge and even to explain it makes me feel a bit weird – is that sound when you open a freezer door that hasn’t been defrosted properly and it sounds like [he makes a creaking, sucking sound]? I can’t stand that. I have to leave the room. [He shudders.] That’s one of my pet peeves.
When are you happiest?
Probably when I can have a lie-in with my boyfriend and I don’t feel guilty about it. It’s kind of nice because if I take any time off, I always feel guilty about it, so it’s nice to have guilt-free time off.
Stay tuned next for Random Questions For…George Esquivel.