Edinburgh International Fashion Festival 16-19 August 2012: Pam Hogg Runway Show
Now in its second fully functional year, Summerhall is increasingly proving itself as a haven for intelligent discourse throughout August away from the rabid frenzy of the Fringe’s larger venues, with a superb range of theatre, exhibitions and musical events.
This year also saw Summerhall used as sole location for the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival from 16-19 August. A broad range of events and talks were programmed, along with film screenings and designers exhibiting their creations.
The events to draw the most eager crowds were, understandably, the runway shows. Alongside presentations from Scottish fashion label Bebaroque and a compilation of nine outstanding graduates from Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot Watt University, the runway show from the one-time enfant terrible of Scottish fashion, Pam Hogg, drew the most excitement.
Having spent nearly thirty years within the industry, Hogg has carved out an idiosyncratic relationship towards style and the body, in many ways making her a north of the border Vivienne Westwood. Her outfits have constantly straddled the borders of fashion and music, drawing particularly on post-punk aesthetics to produce sometimes challenging work.
Her Summerhall runway show consisted of designs from 2009-12, and included elements from recent collections under such names as “Time Machine”, “Goddess at War”, “Valley of the Shadow of Darkness” and “Wild Life”. As with the titles, everything about Hogg’s work is confrontational.
A pounding neo-gothic soundtrack of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Grinderman pumps out as wildly elongated palely androgynous beings parade, sometimes barely covered by straps of material which drip off their bodies like hangings of flesh. Much of Hogg’s work involves the costume almost becoming a prosthetic extension of the body itself, desexualising the walking mannequins so that they evolve into some hitherto hidden future extension of humanity.
Other costumes evoke Alice in Wonderland in an S&M bar, as though The Queen of Hearts, stern and unforgiving, were about to administer severe correction to her subjects. Headwear accentuates the space around the models’ skulls while heels seem to stretch into calves and sinewy muscle. It’s like watching the birth of a Super Race. As Hogg herself is brought on to rapturous applause at the end of this brief but intense catwalk display, it is safe to say her reputation as Empress of Scottish punk fashion remains intact.