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There is something apt about Gareth Pugh’s return to London runway now after seven years of showing elsewhere, coinciding with the recent return of Galliano to London’s fashion stage, and more relevant still, the imminent opening of Savage Beauty, the exhibition that is set to reignite interest in the late Alexander McQueen’s work. As one of British fashion’s three greatest showmen, Pugh’s decision to return to showing in London completes a circle. Being Pugh, of course it was all black, of course it was about volume, drama and a very English revelry in the Gothic and a brutal form of beauty. As if declaring Pugh’s return to native soil, an army of Boudicca warrior queens, their faces daubed with red St George crosses like English football supporters by long-time collaborator Alex Box, strode out in voluminous, duvet-like gowns while leather breast plates, pointed helmets and carapace-like structures (created from black drinking straws) embodied the ultimate image of female body armour. The chaotic scale of Pugh’s multimedia extravaganza in New York last season, if anything, dissipated the anticipation of the event, but here the energy was channeled perfectly, partly with an evocation of the ferocious sneer of Westwood’s original punk muse, Jordan, but mostly through the toweringly intimidating vision he reminded us was his alone.

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