Lighting Design

Fashion Week Illuminated

Lighting is an essential part of any catwalk show, helping to set the mood and illuminate the collection’s themes. As the fashion houses try and up the ante each year, competing to create the most memorable experience, this season saw some particularly ambitious and theatrical productions taking place across New York, London, Milan and Paris. Here we highlight some of the most impressive lighting concepts and the key themes that unite them from Fashion Week.

Attack of the Robots

It was "model vs. machine" at three of this season’s blockbuster shows.

Saint Laurent_2 Saint Laurent_3 Saint Laurent_4

At Saint Laurent in Paris, Hedi Slimane conjured a robotic cube embedded with strip lighting that flickered on and off, forming hypnotic vertical patterns across the giant cube’s surface. As the music kicked in, the cube began to rotate and slowly split in two, setting forth a stream of models from the opening, like aliens emerging from a space craft.

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Thierry Dreyfus' production company Eyesight turned the catwalk into a conveyor belt for Philip Plein’s show in Milan. Surrounded by spotlit robotic machines, the models walked the catwalk like dolls on a production line. A robot band lit up with green LEDs provided the soundtrack.

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The most extravagant set of the season came courtesy of Raf Simons and Bureau Betak at Dior who built a hollow hill in the centre of the Louvre's quadrilateral courtyard, Cour Carrée, and covered it in 400,000 blue Delphinium stems. Inside, a set of four robotic arms equipped with multiple spotlights resembled giant blooms.

Saturated

Taking cues from light works by artists such as Carlos Cruz-Diez or Dan Flavin, immersive color-drenched spaces were order of the day at Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Gucci_2_Courtesy of Chameleon Visual Gucci_1_Courtesy of Chameleon Visual

For Gucci’s S/S 16 menswear show in June, production designers Chameleon Visual installed over 3,000 multicolored fluorescent tube lights that drenched the space in a dramatic wash of color.

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The Parc André Citroën in Paris was bathed in a clinical ultraviolet light for Kim Jones' Louis Vuitton S/S '16 menswear show.

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At the other end of the spectrum, Ermenegildo Zegna Couture created a dazzling, pure white show space within Milan’s Piazza Vi Febbraio. Models emerged up onto the catwalk, ascending a staircase hidden within a brightly-lit recessed square at the far end of the space.

Neon

The classic tube light was imaginatively integrated into several simple but striking catwalk offerings.

Rodarte_2_Courtesy of Bureau Betak Rodarte_3_Courtesy of Bureau Betak

At Rodarte, Bureau Betak hung multi colored tube lights vertically from the ceiling, tangled up with dried foliage, chicken wire and loose strands of colored knitwear, flashed throughout the show.

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The Chromat S/S 16 sportswear collection was showcased against a white set decorated only with a set of 16 wall-mounted vertical tube lights that defined the runway entrance and exit.

Saint Laurent

Arranged into a spinning helix that seemingly floated in mid air, row upon row of rainbow colored tube lights illuminated Saint Laurent’s S/S 16 surf culture-inspired menswear show set.