HOW DID THIS COLLABORATION WITH M·A·C COME ABOUT?
M·A·C have supported me since my first show and are such a great company to work with, so when they came to me with the idea of doing something collaboratively I was obviously very interested. Initially, the idea was to create makeup products linked to a particular catwalk show, where they would come backstage and take colour swatches from what we used on the catwalk and then create products from that. But I wanted to do something much more specific, something that distilled my aesthetic in a wider sense than just being about one particular season – something that was a complete package.
THE PACKAGING IS AMAZING, GIVING THE COLLECTION A REAL 360 DEGREE GARETH PUGH FEEL...DID YOU INSTIGATE THIS?
Yes, it was really important to me that the collection we did together was more broad ranging than just being about the colour or texture of the makeup – I understand that that’s obviously one of the most important aspects of course, but I wanted it to encompasses great packaging too so it wasn’t only about the product inside. I just feel that it gives the whole range a much more special feeling – I think it all looks very ‘me’ and very slick – M·A·C did a really great job on it!
SO, DID YOU HAvE ANY SET IDEAS AT THE OUTSET OF WHAT YOU WANTED THE COLLECTION TO INCLUDE?
Well, I certainly knew what I didn’t want the collection to be! I didn’t want it to be all about black. I think if people had heard about me doing a makeup collection that’s exactly what would have sprung to mind, but make-up requires a very different approach to clothing! I really wanted it to be unexpected, and beautiful.
HOW DID YOU EMBARK ON THE CREATIVE PROCESS THEN?
To start the ball rolling, M·A·C asked me to send them some references for the various products... basically, anything that I liked the finish, colour or texture of. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted the collection to be and was able to put together a very concise reference board made up of a lot of things that I love and have kept in my studio for years for one reason or another – I never throw anything away! There was fabric in there from previous collections, a feather from some head pieces I made for my Spring/Summer 2010 show, a hematite coloured rock that I’d brought at this amazing shop called Evolution in New York, a butterfly wing that someone had given me in Paris...an amalgamation of things that I’d kept because I like them, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to use them.
ARE ANY OF THE PRODUCTS DIRECTLY INSPIRED BY PIECES ON THIS MOODBOARD?
We have a nail polish and a lipglass that reference the butterfly wing, but we had to vamp it up a bit: a literal interpretation of the butterfly wing would have been a bit too pretty looking for me! The wing went from a powdery pink to an electric blue so we twisted this into a colour that goes from a vivid emerald green to a deep purple, so there’s something more witch-y and mysterious, rather than ethereal, about it.
HOW DOES THIS COLLECTION WITH M·A·C REFLECT HOW YOU DESIGN FOR THE GARETH PUGH WOMAN?
With everything that I do it’s about a contradiction – a play with light and dark – it’s about opposites. Likewise, in this makeup range there are two very distinct groups – there’s one group based around purples and dark blues which is very powerful and strong and then there’s the group that’s more about a silvery steel iridescence which feels a lot more fragile.
YOU WORK WITH INCREDIBLE MATERIALS AND CONTRASTS OF TEXTURES IN YOUR CLOTHES. DID YOU WANT THIS COLLECTION TO BE VERY TEXTURALLY RICH, TOO?
Yes, I wanted the finish of the products to be very texturally versatile and multi-faceted. For example, there’s an amazing two tone Lipglass and Nail Lacquer that can both be worn alone or used as a top coat, over one of the darker lipsticks or nail varnishes – on their own they are very subtle and beautiful, but by overlaying them over a dark base, the two tone aspect of the product is emphasised and they really ‘flash’ – from an emerald green to a deep purple. I didn’t want the products to be one dimensional or too specific. I think it’s nice that the textures have a level of diversity, so that you can bring uniqueness to the look you achieve for yourself.
THE LASHES REALLY STAND OUT: TELL ME ABOUT HOW YOU DESIGNED THESE?
The idea with the lash was my way of getting something very
graphic into the actual product. I just took a load of the biggest lashes that M·A·C makes and started chopping them up into different shapes. The thing with lashes is that they tend to be a very ‘lash’ shape whereas I wanted to do something that looked more non-conventional and angular: not something you tend to see a lot with lashes. From shooting our video and seeing how they work on the film, I really feel that these triangular lashes make the eyes look very beautiful. Worn top and bottom, they give this very angular, horse blinker, effect. Fake lashes can be very referential of old Hollywood and film noir glamour whereas I wanted to do something that was much more fresh and modern looking.
FILM IS INTEGRAL TO THE WAY YOU PRESENT YOUR COLLECTIONS. HOW DOES IT WORK IN THIS COLLECTION?
In the fashion films I do with director Ruth Hogben we’ve managed to create an aesthetic that’s very strong, visual and immediate which has a great impact....more impact, I think, than when my clothes are on the catwalk. So it was very obvious to me that I wanted to do a film with M·A·C for this project. To see things in movement, rather than just a still image, reads a lot more than in one-dimensions. And it’s a very interesting and new way of approaching traditional advertising campaigns, to start with a moving image and then take still images from that. I think that working like this really helps visually unify the whole concept of the makeup line. We’ll have a film that’s about two and a half minutes long and then the still images...but because they all come from the same place they will have a very powerfully unified vision.
HOW DID YOU WORK ALONGSIDE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT?
There was a lot of backwards and forwards between us – I was being very specific! I don’t use a great deal of colour in my work but I knew it was incredibly important with this to get it right – it’s sort of the most important aspect of the collaboration really, and it had to work together as a collection. The end result was worth all the tweaking: everything is going in the same direction and singing from the same song sheet – it’s very satisfying to see it all come together.
To see photos and information about the Gareth Pugh for MAC collection, visit Beauty Squared's preview post.