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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Fashion Week: Show Production

Catwalk shows receive worldwide press, which focuses on the collection of garments being presented. The pieces stand as an investigation of a theme; a sartorial dialogue that the designer expresses through the looks and the attitude with which they are walked. Some collections work in a stark environment, with nothing more than white floors and lighting, rows of chairs and a runway. However, the elevation of a show through its dedicated production is often what intensifies the experience of watching the collection - and in many ways extends the designer's theme throughout the show as a whole.

In a time when the exclusivity of the catwalk situation has been lost through the far-reaching networks of social media, it makes sense for brands to create an experience that can only be appreciated by those actually in attendance. Whilst music and lighting have always played an important role in shows, the introduction of immersive experiences - particularly technological ones - has become more and more common place during fashion weeks over the last few years. The direction and production of this ever-more important element of a fashion show continues to fascinate me, and I'm intrigued by the fine line of focus between the clothes themselves, and their setting.

As is clear from their blog, Bureau Betak have an extensive portfolio as a special events company. Dedicated mostly to the luxury fashion industry, they produce events, spaces and experiences. Most recently, their directional input into the F/W14 Christian Dior show, which took place on Friday 28th February as part of Paris Fashion Week, resulted in an overwhelming display of synchronized lighting; an array of coloured shapes developed as the collection did, fluctuating between purple, white and blue. Despite creating impact as a heavy presence in the showroom, the installation highlighted the clothes, transcending the models and the outfits by placing them into a shared, immersive, dream-like environment. 



Seamlessly integrating the complex lighting system into the show, this production served to effectively highlight the collection - and also added some excitement for the pre-show instagraming guests. After weeks worth of shows taking place in various venues around the world, it often happens to be these installation details which remain more memorable than the clothes itself. As fashion's cyclical system continues season after season, perhaps within these accompanying installations is where we'll see the largest development of progression.