The theatrical displays of creativity that arrive in Paris during fashion week are always the most impressive. For SS18 there was the Virgil x Choo modern Cinderella slipper to Kanye’s YEEZY Season 6 sock invite, another broad selection of creative publicity devices drawing consumers into the culture of designers and their runway shows. In the modern world of luxury fashion a beautiful collection of garments is simply not enough anymore, and with brands left right and centre raising the bar of runway show experience, accessories, invitations and social media campaigns are where the true impact lies.
Portraying a luxury lifestyle through a consumer experience is nothing new, but the increased use of technological innovation, cultural trends and a constant desire for something new are helping to craft a new wave of jaw-dropping cinematics to help each and every person connect with the brand on a new level. The ability to display experiential qualities of a brand through runway or an invitation combined with a carefully curated and crafted set of garments is creating aspirational lifestyles like no other.
Upon reflection of some seriously impressive surroundings to set the scenes this season, we’ve picked our top 3 runway experiences.
Saint Laurent at The Eiffel Tower
I want to tell the story of Saint Laurent, of Paris—nothing more deeply than that
As night descended and the Tour de Eiffel illuminated, the scene was set. It couldn’t get much more Parisian than this. A vast white sheet of runway stretches for what seems like miles as leggy models appear amongst the lights, silhouettes contrasting against the white floor and black sky.
This was a show about a love for the city and its inhabitants, a way of presenting the lifestyle of the Saint Laurent woman. Vaccarello summed it up, humbly and succinctly: “That girl of Saint Laurent—she wants to have fun,” he said. “She’s not depressed. She wants to enjoy life!”
With the recent death of one of Saint Laurent’s founders, Pierre Bergé, the presentation of their underlying values of subtle eroticism, style and a strong liberal code was important. Beneath the cities most iconic monument, the show was a statement of respect to its founding city that so perfectly portrays these values.
Dumitrascu on the Paris Metro
Characterised by a low budget, skeleton crews, and simple props this is a catwalk done Guerilla style. Without warning, Berlin-based designer Dumitrascu’s SS18 show began on a fully operational subway platform. The Guerrilla style invasion of peoples everyday lives uses fashion display to produce unplanned and very real results. As the show commences a train arrives, passengers get off and on, and in true commuter style, they take little notice of what is going on around them. As models walk swiftly down the platform their style slots almost seamlessly into the usual rush hour traffic.
Fashion can be intellectual and ethical but in the end it simply has to be fun.
Andra Dumitrascu’s takes a different view of fashion than her contemporaries, refusing to reveal her inspirations for her collections leaves us to make up our own minds about her designs…
She is injecting a sense of normality into her collection, creating contrast and contradiction. The banal everyday commute is used as a backdrop for an exciting clothing collection. As mentioned Dumitrascu believes fashion simply has to be fun, and the show inadvertently makes us rethink our own dull lives to take to look around and enjoy our surroundings even on the dullest of days.
Whats more she has created a heterotopia (defined as sites which are embedded in aspects and stages of our lives, which somehow mirror as well as distort, unsettle or invert other spaces – Read more about them here.). The space has taken on a new meaning, its traditional notions of normality inverted and our perceptions of everyday environments challenged.
But with philosophical meanings aside, theatricality and eccentricity in its purest form make a show like this endearing. Leading us to the conclusion that you don’t necessarily have to analyse space and design to create impact, you just have to be responsive to their effects.
Rick Owens at Palais de Tokyo, Paris
The Palais de Tokyo, usually host to the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris), is framed by a vast, raw metal structure and as models begin to appear, dwarfed by their vast surroundings, they descend down the decadent steps epitomising Rick Owens’ dedication to weirdness and obtrusive representation of form. With an eerie mist hanging over the stagnant water fronting the beautiful backdrop, Owens creates a combination of futuristic and historical reference through the enticing and chilling scene. With an Ancient Grecian architectural style, featuring embellished carvings and sculpture of gods and mythical creatures, alongside the rising smoke and sudden bursts of water from a myriad of fountains the surrounding sets a scene of mythical style.
With intrusively modern form in his garments, the use of such a traditional scene to offset the collection creates a juxtaposing style, representative of merging the ancient realms of Parisian history with the modern fashion it houses today and creating an almost disturbing intimacy between the two.
What was your favourite show this season?
By Alex Theaker (@alexjtheaker)
& Alex Neilson-Clark @alexncxx
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