Making a scene: sensational fashion week venues from the A/W 2017 womenswear shows
Chanel: Karl Lagerfeld prepared for blast-off with a space station-inspired runway set. The ‘Gabrielle Chanel Agency Spatiale’ boasted an igloo-like tent, flashing transmission towers and a giant Chanel logo rocket. At the show’s finish the rocket burst into life, emitting sparks and smoke, and appeared to take off through the glass ceiling of the Grand Palais to the blaring soundtrack of Elton John’s Rocket Man.
Prada: For the brand’s A/W 2017 menswear show, Miuccia Prada worked with frequent collaborators AMO (the research arm of Rem Koolhaas’ OMA studio) on a set made from continuous wooden partitions, dotted with benches and single and double beds. For its A/W 2017 womenswear show, Prada bedded down once more, using the same set design but with different details. Duvets came in painterly florals and neon fake fur, with collages of cut-out plants, Polaroids and passport-style photos tacked to the wooden partitions, resembling the walls of a teenage girl’s bedroom. The set echoed a collection which placed focus on the uniforms of female student protestors during the 1960s and 70s, as well as the different public and domestic spheres in women’s lives.
Simone Rocha: The designer returned to the spectacular Lancaster House for her A/W 2017 runway show. Guests climbed the grand gilded staircase of the townhouse, designed by Joseph Nash in 1850, and models walked among its different rooms, which were lined with opulent rugs in reds and golds, as huge glass chandeliers hung overhead.
Céline: Creative director Phoebe Philo collaborated with the artist Philippe Parreno on an immersive runway set. As guests entered the space they were greeted with hundreds of theatre lights hanging from long wires, before sitting on tiered stalls dotted around the huge space. Before the show began, the shadows of models backstage were projected onto a transparent screen, bridging the gap between front of house and the secret world behind the scenes. At the show’s start, each section of seating began to revolve, turning 360 degrees during the show.
Acne Studios: Creative director Jonny Johansson was preoccupied with naive forms of craft for A/W 2017, imagining jewellery first moulded in clay, then covered with metal and enamel. This interest extended to the show’s set design, with Johansson creating an installation on the ceiling resembling a cloud of iridescent fabric or undulating wire mesh. Catching the light, and shimmering from gold to silver, it resembled the sky in the midst of an electrical storm.
Louis Vuitton: The first fashion brand ever to be granted access to the Louvre, creative director Nicolas Ghesquière debuted his A/W 2017 collection in the museum’s breathtaking Cour Marly. Featuring a glass ceiling designed in 1993 by IM Pei and Michel Macary, the space boasts sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries, originally commissioned for Louis XIV’s Château de Marly gardens, by artists including Nicolas and Guillaume Coustou and Pierre Lepautre.
Peter Pilotto: Christopher de Vos and Peter Pilotto’s eclectic runway set was interspersed with pieces made by their friends, ranging from soft furnishings to sculptures. Held at the Waldorf Hilton’s Palm Court, these included paintings of the duo in their studio by Peter McDonald, a patchwork day bed by Bethan Wood, ceramic pots by Francis Upritchard and carpets by Martino Gamper.
Calvin Klein: For his debut runway show as chief creative officer of Calvin Klein, Raf Simons teamed up with regular collaborator Sterling Ruby. Held at the brand’s Garment District headquarters in New York, the space featured the first of two commissioned pieces by Ruby for the brand, with guests sitting within a mixed-media artwork. Creating a floating collage designed to evoke the detritus of an explosion, fringes of colourful fabric, including strips of the Star-Spangled Banner, pom poms, soft sculpted candles, brass and metal buckets hung from the ceiling, informed by Ruby’s vision of America.
Miu Miu: Working with Rem Koolhaas’ AMO, Miuccia Prada covered the interior of the Palais d’Iéna with a fluffy layer of fake purple fur. Balustrades, grand staircases, walls and benches were entirely covered with the thicket, acting as an antidote to the grand architecture of the space, which was built in 1937 by Auguste Perret. Mirrors also lined the walls, which reverberated with the pounding sounds of hip hop and French gameshow snippets as the show began.
Moncler Gamme Rouge: Creative director Giambattista Valli imagined an autumnal woodland scene, with a catwalk strewn with fiery hued leaves, its middle lined with tree trunks and shrubs. Moving projections of trees lined the walls, which were illuminated with beams of light that evoked sun streaming through the canopy of a dense forest.
Gucci: Held for the first time in the new Gucci hub in Milan, formerly the Caproni aeronautical factory complex, the brand’s A/W 2017 show set featured a runway lined with a Plexiglass wall. At the head of the runway stood a 7m-tall mirrored pyramid, illuminated with bright reds and pinks, which models circumnavigated along a catwalk that wound diagonally around the installation.
3.1 Phillip Lim: Emphasising the bold hues in his A/W 2017 collection, Phillip Lim’s bright catwalk set featured a carpet in abstract stripes of pink and red. The runway also featured a long row of rectangular sheets in orange Perspex, positioned alongside long black straps which hung from the ceiling. It resembled a modern artwork from the likes of James Turrell or Dan Flavin.
Anya Hindmarch: Renowned for her imaginative catwalks, the designer worked with regular collaborators INCA on a snow scene inspired runway set. An architectural interpretation of a folkloric mountain scene, models criss-crossed a sloping runway speckled with geometric snow, as skeleton-like metal clouds hung overhead. At the summit of the mountain sat a pyramid, which was illuminated in blues and pinks throughout the show.
Dolce & Gabbana: The Italian label erected a double staircase using metal scaffolding, which stood at the head of its spotlight-lined catwalk, and framed the grand piano, used as part of the show’s live music offering by Austin Mahone. Dolce & Gabbana’s models were made up of a host of Millennials, from model couples to mothers and daughters. For the show’s finale, they mounted the staircases to make their final bow.
Christian Dior: For her second ready-to-wear collection for Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri took inspiration from its founder’s preoccupation with the colour blue. Working once again with Bureau Betak, a tented show space at the Musée Rodin featured a double runway lined with 600 sq m of mirror, which reflected a resplendent a blue watercolour, taking over 150 hours to hand paint.
Moncler Grenoble: For its A/W 2017 show, the brand hosted a lavish winter ball at Hammerstein Ballroom. Inspired by a scene from Doctor Zhivago, huge chandeliers hung from the ceiling and models sat at a series of circular tables lining the edge of a dancefloor, where dancers whirled wearing white hooded cloaks to a live orchestra.
Thom Browne: The designer erected a set resembling a frozen lake, lined with bulrushes, spindly trees, penguins and even an abandoned rowing boat. The set was imagined in different shades of grey, which echoed the colour scheme of Browne’s A/W 2017 collection, with models navigating the set in ice skate-like footwear.
Loewe: Held at its Unesco Building show location, Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson opted for a unsettling sensory experience for A/W 2017, with guests searching for their seats in total darkness. With the temperature set originally to a stifling 27°C, the space was then plunged to a frosty 15°C, with the lights being raised to reveal a dark purple carpet as the show began. Photography: Loewe
Altuzarra: While his A/W 2017 collection took inspiration from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Joseph Altuzarra was intent on building a more surreal scene for the accompanying runway set. Models walked a sugary lilac carpet, which featured a large topiary-style structure at its centre, created from curved and egg-like shapes, covered in a carpet of moss.
La Perla: For its New York Fashion Week debut, La Perla erected an aristocratic manor house. Creative director Julia Haart was inspired by artistic representations of British gardens, by artists including Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Georgia O’Keeffe, and these different interpretations were imagined across six rooms of the two-floored manor. As the show began, models who were positioned across the different chambers walked from each room onto a horizontal catwalk.