Fashion waits for no man. Which is why this short film features Gareth Pugh performing as a woman. Not just any woman either; The Woman. Liza Minnelli circa 1972 and her iconic performance in Cabaret. This is all thanks to Selfridges ‘The Film Project’, which premiered at The Old Selfridges Hotel, London in honour of the launch of their Women’s Designer Galleries.
Directed by Ruth Hogben, this film entitled Club Nouveau had the brief of interpreting the idea of femininity. Pugh and Hogben do this to perfection; by playing this iconic female role, the stark dichotomy between masculine and feminine is blurred. The film uses a lot of jerky editing and a nightmarish soundtrack, giving the effect of both physical beauty and of something more sinister laying beyond the edges of the frame.
Pugh’s stylist Kate Shillingford told Dazed the story of Pugh’s fascination for Minnelli;
It was in the Tooting Halls of residence that I first met Gareth about 10 years ago, while we were studying at college. A couple of years later a few of us were squatting and Gareth had a studio in a large disused gym in Peckham. We decided later that it was a bit too scary for us, but we hung out at the squat, which was a hub of creativity and fun. One of Gareth’s projects in this particular space consisted of filming himself dancing and lip syncing as Liza Minnelli in Cabaret borrowing a sequined halter-neck dress from me as his costume.
Times certainly changed; for this film, everything was custom made for Pugh with a ream of stylists and make up artists to assist.
You can see more films from Selfridges ‘The Film Project’ series here, or see them at The Old Selfridges Hotel in the flesh until 25 March 2012.