Scene-stealing runway sets from the A/W 2018 womenswear shows
Chanel: last season, Karl Lagerfeld created a Verdon Gorge-inspired water world – complete with cascading waterfalls and mossy cliff faces — at the Grand Palais in Paris. For A/W 2018, his naturalistic showset theme evolved, branching out with an expansive runway carpeted by autumnal leaves, resembling forest clearing. Guests sat on long wooden benches, surrounded by magnificent oak trees, which extended to the glass-domed ceiling of the Grand Palais, an ethereal woodland world à la Chanel, in the heart of bustling Paris. Photography: Olivier Saillant
Christian Dior: for A/W 2018, artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri took a cut-and-paste approach to set design, with a runway space at the Musée Rodin covered with a kaleidoscopic collage of 3000 poster images. Chiuri’s collection was inspired by the Left Bank student protests of 1968, that also swept across cities around the world, and the emancipated outfits of its female rebels. The show set- produced with regular collaborator Bureau Betak — was awash with magazine covers, protest posters and call-to-action slogans, and took 150 people three weeks to create. Photography: Adrien Dirand
Coach 1941: last season, creative director Stuart Vevers erected a runway set evoking a glittering cityscape, but for A/W 2018 he had a more naturalistic leaning, dreaming up a showset resembling a moonlit forest. Moss, leaves and spindly trees lined the set, one also populated with televisions. During his tenure at the creative helm of the New York-based label, Vevers has imbued his collection with images inspired by American mythology, and the spooky scene recalled the American gothic, conjuring images taken from the pages of Hawthorne or Poe. Photography: Daniel Salemi
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC: in his continued collaboration with artist Sterling Ruby, chief creative officer Raf Simons has cemented his pom-pom and quilt strewn vision of Americana, one brimming with references to pop-art, silver screen heroines and prairie landscapes. Simons’ vision has also veered into the sinister, with the designer nodding to blood-splattered American horror flicks. This was a genre evoked in Ruby’s A/W 2018 show set at the Old Stock Exchange in New York, an apocalyptic barnyard scene, boasting dilapidated barns painted with Andy Warhol artworks, and air conditioning tubing hung ominously from windows. In a final nod to cinema, Sterling created a crunchy runway floor, littered with 50,0000 gallons of popcorn.
Loewe: creative director Jonathan Anderson devised a welcoming domestic scene at his regular Maison de l’UNESCO show location, one populated with exhibition cases of artworks by Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo, a roaring fireplace designed by EW Godwin and rows of chairs inspired by Godwin’s chimneys. On each chair lay a copy of Madame Bovary, Wuthering Heights, Heart of Darkness, Dracula or Don Quixote, all featuring an exclusive Loewe cover shot by Steven Meisel. The show’s soundtrack was equally calm inducing — a Michel Gaubert-produced mix featuring the spoken word mindfulness track Burgs, by Mt Wolf.
Miu Miu: recent Miu Miu sets have reflected a preoccupation with colour — show spaces lined with bright plastic screens or swathed in tufty purple fur. For A/W 2018, Miuccia Prada teamed up with the creative agency M/M Paris, on a more monochromatic runway set inside the Place d’Iéna in Paris. Black and white stools lined the space, and hanging from its ceiling were a host of inky fabric illustrations evoking a Miu Miu alphabet — illustrations featuring women in polka-dot wrap dresses, figure hugging bustiers and wide sleeved coats, all posturing with their hands on their hips, folded across the chest or fingertips delicately touching.
Hermès: the Parisian house took over the Lycée-collège Victor-Duruy, erecting a pyramidal show set inside of its splendid gardens. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, the brand evoked a balmy fire-lit scene, with models strutting down a long red gravel path, illuminated with orange light, and guests snuggled on heated benches lined with Hermès cashmere blankets.
Marni: this was a runway set that followed on from Marni’s men’s show space in January – a scrapyard-inspired set strewn with bags of flour, dodgem cars and oil drums. This scene evoked a more ordered storage facility, stacked with piles of newspapers, plastic-wrapped duvet covers, bags of soil, breeze blocks and tyres. Guests perched on coils of foam, tablecloths and sandbags as seating. ‘It was about bringing control into this waste of stuff,’ said creative director Francesco Risso backstage after the show.
Saint Laurent: on a sub-zero night in Paris, editors gathered at the Trocadéro Fountain, to be greeted with a futuristic box-like show set, its exterior flashing with row upon row of spotlights. Inside, guests were met with an equally illuminated setting, and models strode a lengthy catwalk completely lit up with flashing spotlights, pulsing to the sounds of electro and techno, evoking the interior of an eighties Paris club or the pulsing platform of a levitating spaceship.
Balenciaga: during his tenure at Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia has imagined show sets which evoke the everyday — like a roller-blind lined office or a tree-lined Paris park. There was a more intrepid air to the brand’s A/W 2018 show set, which featured a looming mountain projecting into the air at a Paris broadcasting studio. There was an urban edge to the landscape, which featured an all-white runway, evoking a snowy pathway or a blank canvas. The mountain at its centre was tagged with neon graffiti, boasting the Balenciaga brand name, celebratory slogans like ‘power of dreams’ and a smiley-faced emoji.
Gucci: Creative director Alessandro Michele scrubbed up for A/W 2018, with an operating-inspired show set at the Gucci Hub in Milan. The space featured five turquoise operating rooms, complete with real life tables, surgical sheets and operating-room lights. Guests sat on waiting room-like rows of wipe-clean plastic seating, exposed to in-surgery sounds, including whirring oxygen machines, classical music and the frantic ringing of telephones. There was an uneasy antiseptic edge to the setup, with the walls covered in PVC, and a red square beneath each operating table hinting at stomach-churning bloody scenes. Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans
Roksanda: graphic shapes and splashes of colour are idiosyncratic of Roksanda’s show sets, and for A/W 2018, the designer collaborated with the Paris-based artist Caroline Denervaud on an artwork which lined the walls and hung from vaulted ceiling of the London show space. The artwork was comprised of softly formed shapes in sorbet hues, and was taken from Denervaud’s expansive series of movement drawings, which feature simple shapes in an exploration of human form. The tones reflected the blues, yellows, oranges and reds in Roksanda’s typically kaleidoscopic collection.
Fendi: Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini explored the shape of the diamond for A/W 2018, and amongst canvas coated plaids, voluminous silhouettes and splashes of the Fendi logo, the collection featured variations on Argyle and diamond-shape motifs. The duo’s fascination was also reflected in a pastel pink show set, lined with pretty diamond check patterns and intersected with panels of mirror, the Milanese setting resembling a giant chocolate box or a packet of Fendi theme confectionary.
Marques’Almeida: The brand took guests into a dimly lit vault for A/W 2018, hosting its show in London’s graffiti-strewn Leake Street tunnels. Against exposed brickwork and stripped concrete walls, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida projected blown up interview recordings of their inspiring band of ‘#MA girls’, speaking empowering statements, such as ‘It’s ok to be who you are and be unapologetic about it.’
Prada: Miuccia Prada held her brand’s show at the new OMA-designed ‘Torre’ of the Prada Foundation. As guests arrived at the 60m high show venue in Milan — not yet open to the public — they saw a series of Prada motif neon signs from their car windows – a bunch of bananas, a stegosaurus, a cartoon monkey, and a flaming shoe. Inside, each floor of the venue had been painted with reflective black paint, and as guests took their seats they felt as if suspended in space. On each level, a large floor to ceiling window exposed the Milanese skyline, one illuminated with neon signs, and a screen shot of a glowing and futuristic Prada universe.
Salvatore Ferragamo: for Paul Andrew’s debut ready-to-wear offering as womenswear creative director of the Italian house, presented alongside its Guillaume Milland-designed menswear collection, the duo looked to the brand’s 1938 rainbow wedge shoe. The A/W 2018 offering was imagined in a variety of hues, inspired by the spectrum of colour in the famed shoe, originally designed for Judy Garland. This range of colour was also evoked in Ferragamo’s show set, one separated into rooms by high wooden walls, painted in a variety of blocked colours.