Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Set Dressing

It is interesting to think how much the structure of a runway show has developed in the past years. The whole cognitive process behind the execution of a show has come into a completely new light. Sets are no longer just the back runners to the clothes themselves, they are the integral element in creating the entire mood of the show, which then translates to the collection itself, and then trickles down into each individual garment when it ends up on the retail floor. Utilising sets is not a completely modern process. Early couturiers often utilised Paris' grand historical architecture to display clothes created with almost equal craftsmanship. 

The trend then continued into the 20th century where many designers would stage a depiction of their own, lets say, worlds (Alexander McQueen rings to mind). Now we are in the 21st century, the initial theory behind the use of sets has barely changed, however, the sheer scale has. Sets are no longer a runway, dim lighting and ethereal music. They are enormous constructions, taking months and weeks to build all for a 10 minute show. Two of the most popular contemporary examples would be Louis Vuitton's s/s '13 shows, where Marc Jacobs had models walking up and down multiple escalators onto an expansive runway and Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel s/s '13, where enormous white wind turbines adorned a geometric runway. Although these sets are getting more and more impressive (and expensive $$$), you have to question if perhaps it has become rather chauvinistic. Have runway shows falling trap to age old competition of "who has the bigger toys"?? Can we excuse Lagerfeld's less-then-orginal overworking of tweed because he has really big shiny sets with really popular musicians and really HUGE amounts of people? 

I've always seen the fashion industry as a repetitive linage, in the sense that everything old can become new again. Maybe thats what we need, we need some refinement. Its just become a patriarchal game of "who has the bigger rocket" and you would be lying if you couldn't see the clothing falling into a multi-million dollar mechanical abyss.

1 comment:

  1. THIS IS SO ON POINT! I read somewhere recently that in during the 40s or 50s or something, they used to have fashion shows which lasted 2 hours however, the environment in which it was presented was extremely bland and the focus was all on the clothes, and now it's changed so much!!