Show man and ex-costume designer Gareth Pugh showed a gentler side to his dramatic work yesterday evening as he presented a tough yet hauntingly romantic SS13 collection at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.


Exhibiting for the fourth time at Paris Fashion Week, the quirky British designer took his usual no holds barred approach, opening the show with a black floor length fitted dress and statuesque black headdress with full face mourning veil.


The show continued in black, with scuba-style fabric and leather appearing on skin-tight trousers, sculpted jackets and corsets. Models physically portrayed the Japanese influences that Pugh is so connected to through sleek zigzag parted hair, sharp silver accessories and scarlet powered eyes, but as the collection began to unfold, we were witness to Pugh's main influence; Latin American cockfighting. Likening women attending a spa to "the process and preening of birds", Pugh delivered detailing that echoed this vision - trousers and sleeves were dramatic in length, trailing across the catwalk, extreme fringing adorned dress shoulders, hanging from the body like wings and spiked heels represented the claw of a bird ready to fight.


Despite the bloody inspiration and hard lines, the collection felt haunting, feminine and delivered a soft sense of surrealism. Colours shifted from black and shimmering grey to blood red and cream whilst fabrics changed from hard leathers and stiff satin to frayed and ruffle layered cotton, providing the captive audience with a sense of movement and danger.


From where we're sat, Pugh's offerings for SS13 look better than ever - these beautiful pieces feel as though they were made not just for the stage or the catwalk, but for the fans.