Runway review: womenswear A/W 2016's most beguiling backdrops

Anya Hindmarch
(Image credit: Anya Hindmarch)

Anya Hindmarch: The British accessory designer's giant white grid set by INCA Productions whirred into life with electric bleeps and flashes of white light before models emerged out onto the pixelated runway. As various stacks of white blocks gradually pushed their way forward, out from the backdrop, a giant 3D game of tetris ensued with models making their way around the flickering landscape to a pulsating electro beat.  Writer: Ali Morris

Chanel Olivier Saillant

(Image credit: Chanel)

Chanel: Karl Lagerfeld transformed the inside of the Grand Palais in Paris into an old fashioned couture runway show, much like the salons in which Coco herself would have presented her collections back in the fifties. Row upon row of gilded chairs provided a front row seat for each one of Chanel’s 2,500 guests, while the 600-metre-long runway was multiplied to dizzying effect in the mirrored pillars and walls

Tuileries with slabs of grey-veined white marble, a lilac-hued

(Image credit: Carven)

Carven: Bureau Betak filled Paris’ Espace Éphémère des Tuileries with slabs of grey-veined white marble, a lilac-hued pyramid of seating and large balloon-like bubble lamps for Carven’s sugary sweet A/W 2016 show set

Perspex seats in neon green flanked the runway

(Image credit: Céline)

Céline: Supported by a stainless steel scaffold, two vast banks of tiered translucent Perspex seats in a lurid shade of neon green flanked the runway at Céline this season. Set up in The Tennis Club de Paris with the green, blue and white court markings slicing the runway, this season’s sport-inspired set came courtesy of production company La Mode en Images

Runway review: womenswear A/W 2016's most beguiling backdrops

(Image credit: Burberry)

Burberry: To mark a season that ushered in a number of operational changes at the British behemoth, Burberry’s Kensington Gore tent also underwent an interior refresh. Set to a soulful acoustic performance by Jake Bugg, an altogether softer mood prevailed. Lining the meandering catwalk, a more intimate seating arrangement saw the folded camping stools of previous seasons replaced by clusters of teal suede-topped fumed oak benches produced by Sean Sutcliffe and Terence Conran's Benchmark

Dolce & Gabbana: Fantasy

(Image credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

Dolce & Gabbana: Fantasy became reality at Dolce & Gabbana where a theatrical set designed by Angelo Scala played with symbolism taken straight from the pages of classic fairytales. Snow White’s poisoned apple tree greeted guests upon arrival alongside Aladdin’s magic carpet and Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. The dream-like landscape continued to the runway where props borrowed directly from the La Scala Theatre’s various opera productions, including a set of gilded gates from Sleeping Beauty, completed the scene

Givenchy Bureau Betak’s winding maze

(Image credit: Givenchy)

Givenchy: Bureau Betak’s winding maze of a show set for Givenchy was so vast that it took models a full 3 minutes to walk its length with the added bonus of providing every guest with a front row seat. Constructed within the Carreau du Temple, a former 19th-century covered market, the winding plywood corridors were designed to recall those found inside the pyramids – a detail which neatly dovetailed with Tisci’s Egyptian theme

Salvatore Ferragamo

(Image credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

Salvatore Ferragamo: Ferragamo’s famous rainbow wedge shoe designed for Judy Garland served as inspiration for the dazzling multicoloured pinstripes that ran the length of this season’s runway. Matching the contrasting hues and sharp geometry of Massimiliano Giornetti’s A/W collection, the runway took centre stage in its crisp white surroundings complete with angular bench seating

Gucci Plunged into darkness,

(Image credit: Gucci)

Gucci: Plunged into darkness, the audience at Gucci’s A/W 2016 show watched the label’s new collection paraded along a spotlit runway lined with pulsating strobe lights that flashed to the erratic beat of a disorientating soundtrack. The effect was suitably beguiling for a collection that, according to creative director Alessandro Michele, took us on 'a whirlwind trip through history which starts at the Renaissance and arrives at Studio 54’

JW Anderson Yeomanry House on Kenton Street

(Image credit: JW Anderson)

JW Anderson: Yeomanry House on Kenton Street, London was carved up by thick white panelled walls to create a series of extremely narrow residential runways at JW Anderson’s show. ‘The excitement of today is the freedom of the individual to make his own choice and the last range of possibilities from which he may choose,’ read a playful handwritten note left on the show’s benches. The quote, attributed to interior designer David Hicks, was used to set the scene for a confrontational show that brought guests just inches away from the cloud-like shapes and contrasting textures of Anderson’s modern cocktail wear

Runway review: womenswear A/W 2016's most beguiling backdrops

(Image credit: Altuzarra)

Altuzarra: Models passed through the archways of a white trellis gazebo, which was erected in the centre of Joseph Altuzarra’s runway. Inspired by director Jim Jarmusch's gothic romance 'Only Lovers Left Alive’, the structure was illuminated by a cold blue light that created the effect of shadows in the moonlight

Runway review: womenswear A/W 2016’s most beguiling backdrops

(Image credit: Paul Smith)

Paul Smith: Extravagant production wasn’t necessary at Paul Smith’s A/W 2016 show which took full advantage of the pristine Sir Denys Lasdun-designed interior at the 1960s Royal College of Physicians building – a new show venue for the label. Models descended the college’s elegant brass-railed and grey mosaic-lined spiral staircase onto the runway in the main white marble foyer where a large projection screen provided up close detail of Smith’s shimmering paisley-print

Runway review: womenswear A/W 2016’s most beguiling backdrops

(Image credit: Akris)

Akris: Inspired by his recent trip to Africa, Albert Kriemler brought the sun baked plains of the Serengeti to Paris for Akris’ A/W 2016 show. Silhouetted by an enormous screen playing out a slow-moving slideshow of animal prints and patterns, the models stalked the catwalk dressed in hues of red that cleverly matched their revolving backdrop – from burnt sienna through to scarlet and aubergine

Louis Vuitton

(Image credit: Louis Vuitton)

Louis Vuitton: Nicolas Ghesquière brought his Vuitton beauties back down to earth for winter with a futuristic ‘lost city’ set that he created in collaboration with Paris-based artist, Justin Morin. Populated by 57 truncated concrete columns clad in shattered mirrored mosaic, the partially smashed-up scene riffed on Morin’s 2011 installation Melted Bones

Hall with Alberto Giacometti sculptures

(Image credit: Loewe)

LoeweLoewe’s show took place among the Joan Miró murals and Alberto Giacometti sculptures in the Hall Ségur of Paris’ UNESCO building. Alongside a collection of carefully chosen house plants that added a touch of domesticity to the interior, Jonathan Anderson brought in a selection of artworks by Siobhan Hapaska, Richard Smith and Mo McDermott’s Trees, in addition to nude 1950s photographs by George Platt Lynes. A series of gold and cobalt blue sprayed concrete stools as well as the odd transparent Perspex box filled with miscellaneous household items served as seating

Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds

(Image credit: Mary Katrantzou)

Mary Katrantzou: In a scene that recalled Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds, Bureau Betak filled Mary Katrantzou’s show space with a wall of square-shaped metallic balloons that headed up a foil-lined runway. Staged in the atrium of Central Saint Martin’s Granary Square building at London's King's Cross, the prom night-inspired set matched the collection’s fifties Americana theme

Runway review: womenswear A/W 2016’s most beguiling backdrops

(Image credit: MaxMara)

MaxMara: A complex gilded scaffold set backed by an ambitious foil and tape collage set the scene at MaxMara. Complementing the camel coats, flashes of shimmering sequins and bold striping seen on the runway, the set drew on the collection’s references to Dadaism, Constructivism and Modernism in 1920s Germany

Proenza Schouler: Metallics abound this season

(Image credit: Proenza Schouler)

Proenza Schouler: Metallics abound this season, particularly on the set of Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez’s Proenza Schouler show. Set on the 5th floor gallery space of the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum and decked out with square silver foil-covered stools in coil formations, the set was, fittingly, a tribute to the work of 1960s and 1970s American artists such Robert Wyman, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and Frank Star

Fluorescent tube light

(Image credit: Rodarte)

Rodarte: The fluorescent tube light, a recurring fixture within Rodarte’s show sets, once again played a central role in the Mulleavy sisters’ vision. Whereas S/S 2016 saw Bureau Betak hang them in clusters from the ceiling, this season the Parisian studio placed them on the floor among piles of rubble, steel panels and red blooms, which sprouted upwards out of the chaos

Roksanda Once again, Gary Card

(Image credit: Deborah Turbeville)

Roksanda: Once again, Gary Card was tasked with creating the set for Roksanda Ilincic’s runway at Bryanston Place. Using a palette of vibrant blue hues, Card and his team hand painted the walls with a swirling 160-metre-long mural inspired by the 1974 Italian erotic psychological drama film The Night Porter, as well as the work of fashion

Womenswear A/W 2016's most beguiling backdrops

(Image credit: Valentino)

Valentino: A pianist playing compositions by John Cage and Philip Glass was placed in the centre of the runway at Espace Ephémère Des Tuileries for Valentino’s ballet-inspired show. Diffused with the perfume of Valentino’s Absolute Rouge candle, the space was simply presented. Guests sat on ballet pump nude-coloured bench seating under low lighting as models, dressed in Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s delicate tulle creations, walked out across weathered dance studio-style floorboards

Tommy Hilfiger

(Image credit: Tommy Hilfiger)

Tommy Hilfiger: Mr Hilfiger delivered another blockbuster set in New York, this time in the form of a gigantic ocean liner, the TH Atlantic. Sunken into the floor of the Park Avenue Armory and decked out in twinkling lights, the cruise liner’s wooden deck served as the catwalk for Hilfiger’s stylishly-attired crew