NEW YORK — There are fashion shows that focus purely on the clothes to be sold. Then there are the shows that lean more toward concept, toward image, toward performance.
And then there are shows like Gareth Pugh's splashy happening Thursday night at New York Fashion Week, a so-called "live immersive fashion experience" held in a cavernous space on the East River that normally houses seven gleaming basketball courts.
Pugh, the avant-garde British designer who usually shows in Paris, shrouded the premises in darkness and fog (billowing from strategically placed machines.) Giant video projections displayed everything from clouds and tornadoes to exotically clad figures. And there were dancers — live ones — writhing and churning, and wearing very little.
The only thing missing: Clothes, as in, what is Pugh suggesting that we wear next spring? It was hard to spot a single garment that might be actually, like, for sale one day. But clearly, a runway show wasn't what Pugh, 32, one of Britain's most interesting designers, was going for. And he put on quite a show. (And an expensive one — the entire enterprise was underwritten by Lexus, as part of its Design Disrupted program.)
As attendees — including celebrity guests like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Adrian Grenier and model Coco Rocha — entered the premises of Basketball City, an impressive sports facility housed in a giant warehouse on the river, waiters were at the ready with glasses of white wine and wild mushroom hors d'oeuvres. There were two large open bars. The huge space had been transformed into a dark club — no wooden basketball floors or hoops to be seen.
Guests watched the giant video projections or sipped drinks until it was performance time. There were three performance spaces, used consecutively, with crowds rushing from one to the other and jostling for a good view as the action progressed. Choreography was by the acclaimed British choreographer Wayne McGregor, who heads the company Random Dance and is known for merging dance with technology.
Will Pugh, 32, who has dressed celebrities like Lady Gaga, become more of a presence in New York? Not clear, but his splashy, foggy show certainly had people buzzing as Fashion Week got underway in earnest.