Gareth Pugh collection fuses tribal, priestly

THOMAS ADAMSON Associated Press Published:

PARIS (AP) -- What do priestly robes, Maasai tribal headwear and perhaps Gotham City have in common? A lot for British designer Gareth Pugh, on show in his strong fall-winter ready-to-wear offering that fused them all in typically dark and animalistic style with geometric forms and suffocating reversed collar masks.

The pulsating bass music that opened the show with utterings of "God" and falling dead rose petals created an unsettled mood that must have rubbed off on the clothing.

Chubbies in black wool, furry bustle dresses and chainmail balaclavas with fur tassels introduced an animalism.

These soon morphed into tribal-edged funnel necks and headstraps that together with a notable disc-shaped hat designed by Philip Treacy, grew from musings on the beaded headwear of the Kenyan Maasai.

Shoulders were narrow on silhouettes that would expand at the waist with strong peplums, an angular feature typical of the London-based designer.

Clean-lined capes and gray duchesse satin tops were supposed to mirror the shape of clergy garb.

But at moments, large reversed metallic collars with points like rodent ears and shield-like sleeve paneling in black harked more to Batgirl.

Backstage, with typical self-deprecating humor, Pugh said that out of all this his main theme was "just to get away from my last season. It's good to mix things up."