the fashion show that changed my life

As fashion week reaches its halfway point, we ask some of i-D's favourite designers to recall particular shows from back in the day that ripped into their retinas, embedded in their brains and inspired them to do their own thing. Certain fashion...

by James Anderson
18 September 2014, 8:50am

Gareth Pugh Autumn/Winter 06

Walter Van Beirendonck

"The debut show in 81 from Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons, had a big impact on me, when I was a graduating student from the Royal Academy Antwerp. It was shown in Paris in the tents in the Tuileries, Louvre.  It was pure AGRRRRRRRRESSION! People called it 'Hiroshima chic'. The looks - clothes with holes and shredded seams, abstract and oversized shapes and patterns. The colour black! The dramatic, dark, abstract make-up! The music! Sensational! Also the fact that it was right after the first glory years of the French glam-designers -  Gaultier, Montana and Mugler. It was a big shock for me... and for fashion!" 

"When we were younger there were so many different things in our everyday lives we found inspiring. But, to be honest, we really admired Yves Saint Laurent. The spring/summer 02 show in particular, shown in Paris, was so stunning and unique and marked the end of an era. We very much loved it - it was his last collection - because it embodied elegance and a strong sense of femininity. The feeling that show created, that memory, still inspires us today!" 

Craig Green
"The Dior couture spring/summer 04 'Egyptian' collection by John Galliano - is still, I think, one of the most amazing shows that has ever happened. In recent times it feels there is that missing element of shows happening and wishing you could have been there. The freedom, fearlessness, and uncompromising fantasy element of the show has always stuck with me." 

Thelma Spiers, Bernstock Spiers
"I was desperate to see Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren's World's End 'Buffalo' collection of 82, shown in Pillar Hall, Olympia Exhibition Centre, London. I was in my final year of fashion college and Paul Bernstock and I were just talking about doing a label together. I turned up at the hall two hours before the show started, while people were setting up the chairs, and I started fiddling around with chairs and pretending I was helping. Nobody asked me who I was, or what I was doing there, and eventually, after hours - the show was late, anyway - the audience started arriving so I stood at the back and watched the show. It started with the music 'White Christmas', sung by Bing Crosby, and then merged into some hip-hop-pop. Models came out dancing and posturing, as they did in those days. The hats were fantastic. The clothes were fantastic. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It was the most exciting thing I'd ever seen." 

Dries Van Noten
"France Andrevie's shows in Paris, from 1977-1981, when I was still a student. It was the younger, newer version of Montana and Mugler."

Peter Jensen
"One collection that really made an impact on my thoughts about becoming a fashion designer was Vivienne Westwood's spring/summer 92 'Salon' collection, shown in London. I was a student, in my first year at a tailoring school. The collection had everything about it that was going on in my head. It made me feel like someone was talking my language. So, I set myself the task to copy the Westwood corset and that really was how I started to believe in pattern cutting and making garments. It took me around three weeks to work it out and I worked on it everyday. I made my lesbian friend wear the final item out to the local gay bar and she looked great!" 

Harriet Vine, Tatty Devine
"A key show for me was Hussein Chalayan's 'Afterwords', for autumn/winter 2000 shown in London. I had just graduated from a Fine Art Ba at Chelsea College of Art and Rosie and I had just started doing Tatty Devine. This show had spectacle, the unexpected, and disbelief. I love it when fashion rises up into the magic place where it can astound you. Craftsmanship, inventiveness and originality shone out, but most of all it was so cool." 

Cozette from Sibling
"I remember watching a Clive James show about Paris Fashion Week on telly which I'd videoed and watched over and over again for two reasons: Jerry Hall strutting to Ian Dury and a photographer complaining that he'd been hit on the head by a 'talkie-walkie'. But I had to wait years to see my first show there, which was John Galliano, for spring/summer 97. I knew John and Steven his assistant and close friend - we'd go to raves together - and I was brought in to work solely on Japan sales. We travelled miles out of the centre of Paris. Arriving at what looked like a car park, guests were greeted by music from a Romany band, flaming fires, jugglers, acrobats, romantic caravans and were walked to a circus tent. The overall memory is that once you stepped out of your car you were part of this incredible theatre, bang smack centre of his inspiration. Backstage, although small and darkly lit, was buzzing: Kate in a floral chemise was having fairy lights threaded through her hair, Carolyn was Harlequin, Stella, Sybil and Jodie the coolest pom-pommed Pris-replicant biker gang, Helena a trapeze artist, Nadia a sparkling pony. Girls had accordions, some looked like palm readers draped in fringed shawls. Models were laughing together, heavy kohl-applied, slinking around in liquid lurex dresses, drinking, chatting, acting, having side mirrors attached to their heads by Stephen Jones. It was such an electric and eclectic combination and felt palatably like 'a moment'. And, at the end of it all we got really drunk and I ended up with a finger applied eye-mask from Kristen McMenamy, side mirrors and a red and white star covered jacquard knit jacket. Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3!"

Kit Neale
"It was Gareth Pugh's autumn/winter 06 collection - the one with the poodle - shown in a fairly small room by the back entrance of the Royal Academy in London. I was helping out at the show. I remember it being tiny and the crowd spilling over into another room who watched it on a monitor. It is proper naff to say, but it was a bit of a fashion moment! Anna Wintour was in attendance, throwing around big giant inflatable rubber balloons with the rest of the crowd. Mandi Lennard was screaming at the door. Nicola Formichetti was styling. There were Judy Blame accessories, customised Doc Martens platforms and that giant poodle! I was a 17-year-old at the time, so I suspect I acted a bit too cool for school while it was all happening, but was probably very giddy inside." 

Gareth Pugh
"I must have been age 16, had just finished my GCSEs and was at college doing my first year of A-Levels - a pretty formative time for me, to say the least. I saw Alexander McQueen's 'Joan' collection for autumn/winter 98, shown in London, via the pages of OK magazine's Fashion Week Special, bought from a newsagent in Sunderland. I still have the copy of it somewhere. These menacing, fearless, brutal looking creatures with their braids and bald heads, piercing red eyes and gimp masks, stalking down a catwalk of coal and fire certainly stood out - like a lightning bolt."

Henry Holland, House of Holland
"Versace, for spring/summer 91. I was still at school at that time. The show was the epitome of what everyone believed fashion was about!"


Text James Anderson
Additional research by Rosie Ellis
Catwalk photography Gareth Pugh autumn/winter 06

Dries Van Noten
Gareth Pugh
Kit Neale
Henry Holland
james anderson
craig green