4 June 2020 12:04
Gareth Pugh takes the helm of June’s Dance Gazette
The Royal Academy of Dance introduces Gareth Pugh, the second of three Dance Gazette guest editors this year.
“I grew up in Sunderland, a coastal town in the north-east of England. Dance was a huge part of my life – I took classes every week at my local dance school from the age of eight until I was around 16. I truly loved it. Dance gave me a view into a world filled with freedom and creativity – a world I very much wanted to be part of.
Although I went on to study fashion, working on this issue of Dance Gazette has reminded me why I fell in love with dance all those years ago – that sense of possibility, the chance to reach beyond yourself, and a very real sense of freedom.
If I didn’t have dance when I was younger, I quite honestly don’t know where I’d be now, and for that I’ll always be truly grateful.”
Born in Sunderland in north-east England, the fashion designer and activist Gareth Pugh began his creative journey with RAD ballet taught by Susan Newby at the Kathleen Knox School of Dance.After taking his RAD exams he began exploring theatre and fashion.
He trained at Central St Martins in London, making his London Fashion Week debut in 2005. Gareth’s clothes have been described as wearable sculptures, with experimental forms, volumes and fabrics.
He has dressed Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Rihanna, and reconnected with ballet in works with choreographer Wayne McGregor including Carbon Life (Royal Ballet) and Alea Sands (Paris Opéra Ballet).
Bob Fosse’s Cabaret is Gareth’s favourite film, contrasting colourful bohemia with the cruelty beyond. ‘Sometimes it feels as though you have to decide who you are,’ he says. ‘Do you present a glitzy sideshow, or do you look it in the eye?’
Gareth’s 2019 spring show, a tribute to ‘outsider society’, celebrated the subversive energies of the voguing scene (see page 36). ‘These dancers can come from such difficult backgrounds,’ he said, ‘but they all come together and, for that one night, they become superstars.’
‘Fashion can be full of fantasy,’ he says, ‘but right now, this is not really the time for fantasy. It’s time to do something that runs deeper.’