09/26/2012 02:33 EDT | Updated 11/26/2012 05:12 EST

London designer Gareth Pugh slows down in mature, introspective fashion show in Paris

PARIS - "Hard femininity," was how Gareth Pugh described his spring-summer 2013 show, inspired, he says, by the rawness of Latin American cockfighting.

Sure enough, black nappa kimono looks opened the show at Paris Fashion Week swirling stiffly and authoritatively — with one model in a two-foot mourning veil.

However, the raw shock-factor — Pugh's signature — was short-lived for once. It soon gave way to a series of softer, elegant and more mature looks in sweeping vermilion, black fringing and pale dove grey.

The Latin feel was captured in a series of textured 3-D ruffles reflecting a coiffed, full-breasted cock, ready for the fight.

The designer's introspection was tangible, from the simplicity of the decor to Rebekah del Rio's haunting a capella singing to the clean, highly wearable silhouettes.

Could Wednesday's show have been a coming of age for London's enfant terrible?

"Some things happened to me recently," Pugh said backstage. "Sometimes you just can't help changing, some things are out of control."


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