Scene-stealing runway sets of S/S 2019 womenswear
Louis Vuitton: Creative director Nicolas Ghesquière has taken guests to the Louvre’s Cour Lefuel, Pavillon de l’Horloge and Cour Marly, and for S/S 2019 he continued his tour of the famed Paris museum, erecting a futuristic runway set in the centre of its Cour Carrée. Ghesquière is renowned for his interplanetary persuasion, and his runway was made up of a series of spaceship-worthy glass corridors, which periodically illuminated into life.
Hermès: Drawing on its equestrian heritage, the French maison took guests to the races for S/S 2019, with a show held at the Longchamp Racecourse inside Paris’ Bois de Boulogne. The Parisian brand’s women’s artistic director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski collaborated with special events company villa eugénie on a sleek cloud-capturing set, with panels of mirror reflecting the evening sky overhead. Blue sky thinking indeed. Photography: Matthieu Raffard
Chanel: In recent seasons, we’ve had Chanel show sets evoking autumnal woodland forests, cruiseliners and the coursing waterfalls of the Gorges du Verdon, but for S/S 2019, Karl Lagerfeld had more beach-bound inspiration in mind. The creative director imagined a paradisal getaway inside the Grand Palais in Paris, complete with sand, sea and even a rustic beach hut. Piña Coladas at the ready. Photography: Olivier Saillant
Rick Owens: For his Tower of Babel-inspired open-air show set at the Palais De Tokyo in Paris, Owens erected a pyre in the centre of vast classical statue-lined runway. In the middle of the show the pyre spontaneously burst into flames, casting a warm glow onto his pagan worshipper-like models.
Marni: From Francesco Risso, we’ve had gymnasium-inspired sets with exercise ball seating, and show spaces inspired by junk yards, but for Marni’s S/S 2019 women’s show in Milan, the creative director was more recline-inclined. The designer created a show set lined with single and double beds, and an array of different duvets and pillows. Guests assembled on beds to watch the show, with sleepy editors wishing they could catch forty winks after it had finished.
Coach: Creative director Stuart Vevers bought a punch of prehistoric pizzazz to the American brand’s S/S 2019 show set in New York, with a huge rusting dinosaur sculpture looming in its centre. Vevers often looks to US iconography as part of his exploration of the brand – from prairie landscapes, to the plains of Texas Panhandle – and for spring, he was inspired by Ghost Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the site of many prehistoric fossil discoveries.
Loewe: For the Madrid brand’s S/S 2019 show set, creative director Jonathan Anderson imagined an exhibition space of rooms within the Maison de L’Unesco in Paris, inspired by the subversive Sixties art gallery Signals London. One room hummed with Lara Favaretto’s spinning car wash brushes; another space was lined with record players and the ceramics of Ryoji Koie; a room was populated with rustic baskets by Loewe Craft Prize finalist Joe Hogan; and another poured fourth with floating soap bubbles.
Miu Miu: Last season, the label worked with renowned French creative agency M/M Paris on a pen and ink take on the Miu Miu alphabet. For S/S 2019 the brand’s show set offered a new take on Miu Miu’s typographic language, with bold white ‘M’ ‘I’ and ‘U’ lettering suspended from the ceiling from the Palais d’Iéna. These letters were used as irregular projection screens for video footage of models pronouncing the spelling of the brand on repeat.
JW Anderson: There was an immersive energy behind the brand’s S/S 2019 show in Bloomsbury, London, as Jonathan Anderson constructed a series of wrought iron gates within his label’s show set, encouraging guests to discover its collection through its metal poles. Anderson worked with regular collaborators Laura Holmes Production on the space, which also featured a t-shirt designed by Greek-American artist and feminist Lynda Benglis on the wall of the show set. This was emblazoned with a provocative 1974 advertising image she placed in Artforum magazine, of an image of herself wearing nothing by a pair of sunglasses and a sex toy.
Off-White: There was an athletic élan behind the brand’s S/S 2019 show in Paris, which amongst an array of supermodels, featured real life record-breaking athletes on the catwalk. The energetic aesthetic of Virgil Abloh’s ‘Track and Field’ collection was reflected in a showset produced by Eyesight, which featured a central space populated with shrubbery, surrounded by a concrete running track.
Celine: For his debut runway show for Celine, Hedi Slimane was inspired by the concept of a wind-up ballerina, contained inside a dark mirror-lined music box. His inaugural show was held inside a dark black facade erected in the grounds of the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, and inside the space, a mirror panelled installation evoked his music-box concept, constructed from splices of reflective glass.
Prada: The Milan-based brand held it’s S/S 2019 women’s show in the new Rem Koolhaas-designed Deposito performance space of the Fondazione Prada. The acid green terrace was a nod to one of Prada’s signature shades, and worked to highlight the abundance of colour in the brand’s S/S 2019 offering. While below, the ‘Parterre’ section of the Deposito was sectioned into a grid of squares, each labelled according to seat number. For Prada’s S/S 2019 men’s show, the label recommissioned a Verner Panton-designed inflatable stool from the 60s, which never made it into production, and these made a squishy-seated appearance for the women’s show too.
Versace: Donatella Versace swapped her intimate HQ show venue location for the Palazzo delle Scintilla in Milan for S/S 2019. Her kaleidoscopic show set was lined with pop-colour benches and an eye-popping panelled patterned carpet, which reflected the retro prints on display on the runway.
Balenciaga: Last season, creative director Demna Gvasalia took guests to the peak of a graffiti-tagged mountain, but for S/S 2019 he had a more immersive vision in mind. The desigener created a catwalk turned video-tunnel, lined with digital video installations devised by Canada-born video artist Jon Rafman. The psychedelic trip-like visuals surrounded guests as they watched the Paris-based show, projecting them into an uncanny alternative universe, as an eerie voice repeated ’presence is key, now is the answer, ego is not who you are…’
Salvatore Ferragamo: ‘The set design was loosely inspired by the artwork installations of Robert Irwin,’ says womenswear creative director Paul Andrew of the brand’s men’s and women’s Milan show set. The space was conceived as a series of bench-lined rooms, separated by colourful transparent walls. My idea was to create an intimate maze-like space within a large room, whilst simultaneously playing with transparency, light and colour, he says. ‘The catwalk benches and flooring were upholstered in sustainably crafted synthetic-leather, and the runway walls were created using colourful sheer mesh, dyed to match the same vibrant palette as the collection.’
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC: Raf Simons has demonstrated a fascination for American film, and for his S/S 2019 show for the NYC-based brand, he took to the waves with Steven Spielberg, with a collection and show set inspired by his 1975 classic Jaws. His runway, located at the brand’s HQ, featured walls lined with projections of open water, and early scenes from the film, and featured carpets and benches in an eerie and blood-like hue. Cue Mrs. Kintner’s refrain in the film, ‘You knew it...You knew it was dangerous!’