Monday, January 5, 2009

Beyonce's Fashion Risk/Designer Discovery

My latest piece for

Over the holidays, I spent a lot of time chill-laxing and catching up on celebrity gossip and fashion news. I have always been fascinated by the symbiotic relationship that exists between celebrities and fashion and by how this relationship functions to bolster the fame of both the celebrity and the designer that is being worn by that celebrity. The greater the level of fame that a celebrity has achieved then the more fashion risks that celebrity is able to take. Who could ever forget the infamous safety-pin Versace dress worn by Elizabeth Hurley or Jeremy Scott's swan dress worn by Bjork? However, it is also in these moments of celebrity fashion risks that new visionary and cutting edge designers may be introduced and discovered.

A recent celebrity fashion risk/designer discovery can be seen in the music video for Beyonce's latest single "Diva" (see it above). In "Diva," Beyonce rocks a number of outfits by up and coming British designer Gareth Pugh and these pieces (above) are definitely the most provocative and interesting pieces seen in this video. Gareth Pugh is a 27 year-old designer who graduated from London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and his aesthetic is comparable to the fashion-as-art styles of fellow Brits: John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Vivenne Westwood. Influenced by the culture of clubbing, Pugh's signature style may be seen in his skill at manipulating form and proportion to create fashion sculptures which act as metaphors for "the struggle between lightness and darkness." Materials such as PVC, perspex discs, and latex are carefully manipulated and structured into fantastical wearable garments. Pugh's creations remind me of Alexander McQueen's earlier designs when his pieces embodied performance art. I LOVE all of Gareth Pugh's creations and he is definitely a breath of fresh fashion air! I think that this was a risk worth taking for Beyonce because she looks like a FIERCE diva in this video and to be linked with a designer before the designer becomes huge helps to establish Beyonce as a fashion and style icon. Time will tell I suppose, but Gareth Pugh is a designer that I am sure that we will hear more from this year.

What do you think - are the Gareth Pugh pieces a fashion success or a fashion disaster for Beyonce?

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