Staging and Set Design Inspiration: Highlights From Fashion Month
Fall’s runway trends (Volume! Suiting! Camp!) were as diverse as the sets in which they were presented. From Michael Kors (hello, Barry Manilow!) to Chanel (farewell, Karl Lagerfeld), designers let their imaginations run wild as their show sets served as an extension of their ideas and moods. Instagram-worthy moments could be found throughout the New York, London, Milan, and Paris shows… dark and brooding at Dries van Noten, Prada, and Givenchy or modern and optimistic at Rodarte, Louis Vuitton, and Thom Browne. It all made for another memorable season of shows—as well as inspiration for events of all kinds.
For the February 11 Coach show at the American Stock Exchange building, longtime production and set designer Stefan Beckman created a kinetic sculpture filled with rich tones and materials that served as a centerpiece of the runway. “[Creative director] Stuart Vevers wanted an optimistic show with amber tones filled with beautiful light,” said Beckman.
Photo: Courtesy of Coach Moschino
Arriving at the Fondazione Prada on February 21 was quite calming. The venue for Miuccia Prada’s seasonal shows was illuminated against the sunset while inside, it was dimly lit with large, glowing light bulbs spread out across the floor. Ambient music filled the room while seats were lined with comfortable acoustic fabric. The soundproof material also covered the sides of the catwalk. Booming techno then commenced, pulsating as a single spotlight shined on the opening model. Prada’s in-house team produced the show, while Rem Koolhaas’ OMA studio collaborated on the set.
Photo: Courtesy of Prada Versace
In a tribute to a collection ripe with baroque, body-con pieces, the February 22 Versace show at the Milan Stock Exchange, produced by Sergio Salerni of Urban Production, featured a curvilinear runway chock full of Instagram-worthy moments in the form of massive safety-pin pieces peppering the set—a nod to the 1994 dress that put the Italian fashion house on the pop-culture map.
Photo: Courtesy of Versace Dior
For her Fall 2019 Dior show, produced by Bureau Betak and held February 26 at the Musée Rodin in Paris, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri enlisted Italian conceptual artist Bianca Pucciarelli Menna—better known by her pseudonym, Tomaso Binga—to design the show set. In a continuing renewal of the girl power set that has come to be the standard at Dior, the venue walls were adorned with naked images of Binga conjuring the alphabet, contorted into every letter of the alphabet.
Courtesy of Dior Yves Saint Laurent
A black, custom-built box at the Trocadéro Esplanade at the foot of the Eiffel Tower once again set the tone for Anthony Vaccarello’s Fall 2019 Saint Laurent show. Inspired by the Eighties power trio of Betty Catroux, Bianca Jagger, and Catherine Deneuve, the strong, sharp collection featured a finale rendered in pitch black darkness. The catch? Models, clad in their feathers, sequins, and leathers, walked behind a glass wall illuminated by blacklight, their neon pink and highlighter green shoes lighting up the runway.
Photo: Courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent Dries van Noten
In a nod toward a more melancholy mood for fall, Dries van Noten set his February 27 show in the concrete basement of the Palais de Tokyo. The dark scene, produced by Villa Eugenie, featured plenty of gray garments—with the models’s walks casting shadows on the runway. The raw, cold space gave the overall collection a haunting feeling.
Courtesy of Dries van Noten Givenchy
Guests arriving at the Jardin des Plantes for the March 3 Givenchy show were greeted by dramatic, floodlit letters that spelled out “Givenchy.” Served red candied apples, guests proceeded down a long walkway constructed inside the gardens, where, up above, the see-through tent space menacingly showcased large canopies of trees blowing in the wind. Clare Waight Keller’s “Winter of Eden” collection, inspired by Adam and Eve, featured an abundance of reptilian references in the designs, rendered in a palette of blood red, vivid blue, peach, lime green. Villa Eugenie produced.
Photo: Courtesy of Givenchy Thom Browne
The highly dramatic Fall 2019 Louis Vuitton show featured the concept of a “museum within a museum.” From within one iconic cultural institution, another rose: located in the Cour Carrée of the Musée du Louvre, the interior and exterior scenography referenced the architecture of the Centre Pompidou which sits less than a mile away. Produced by La Mode en Images, the show had models walking the perimeter of the soaring space, with its metal scaffolding and internal workings painted primary colors.
Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton Miu Miu
As the final show of the Fall 2019 season, guests arriving at the Conseil Économique et Social for the March 5 Miu Miu show were greeted by black-walled corridors and felted carpet insulation. Paths led to a catwalk lined with illuminated photographs, video screens, and stacks of vintage televisions showing work by the young New Zealand-born, London-based artist Sharna Osborne. Once again, the show was produced by Villa Eugenie with a show set designed in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas’ AMO research and design studio.
Photo: Courtesy of Miu Miu