Black veils, cock fighting, a soaring a capella soundtrack and torrents of rain beating on the roof: the mood could hardly have been more dramatic at Gareth Pugh's Paris fashion show Wednesday.
The British designer said he drew inspiration from the worlds of flamenco and cockfighting for his latest spring look, built around a sober palette of black, white, ice blue and blood red.
"It was about a hard femininity. Something quite beautiful," he explained backstage, with little spurs on the model's shoes meant to suggest the intensity of fighting birds "circling each other before they pounce".
Leather capes and jackets opened the show, with high, formed shoulders, folded mantilla-like around the neck, worn over black leather pants -- and under black face veils.
There followed a series of dresses and pantsuits in cream, red or black silk, with unhemmed lengths of silk wrapped around the neck or draped at the shoulders.
Silhouettes were contoured at the waist, with flared forearms that suggested the folds of a gypsy skirt.
A high-necked blood-red suede dress, cut on the knee, had fine fringes draped all across its back. And another showstopper, also blood red, paired slender pants with a dramatic flounced blouse, and a jacket whose sleeves joined at the back to form a cape.
For his soundtrack, Pugh went for the jugular with an a capella rendition of the Spanish song "Llorando" -- made famous in David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive".
So when the rain started pounding deafeningly on the glass roof above, the added drama fitted the mood so perfectly, many in the crowd assumed it was part of the show.