If fashion shows have thought us anything, first impressions count. By that, we mean even before the first model steps onto the runway. The atmosphere and set design of fashion shows certainly set the tone of a designer’s collection. Take the unnerving show at Gucci as an example. An operating theatre setting and the soundtrack of a beating heart and heavy breathing of oxygen being administered to a patient greeted guests at the show. So how did the other brands make an impression? Here, we shortlist some that made us sit up and take notice.
The Grand Palais in Paris has been the venue to some of the most spectacular sets for Chanel’s — and the industry’s — runway shows in recent memory. The cavernous exhibition hall and complex in the city’s 8th Arrondissement had been transformed into the Gorges du Verdon complete with waterfalls, a rocket launch site, a shopping centre, and a brasserie among others.
For the recent F/W ’18 show, the brand explored the theme of nature in the autumn for a show replete with amazing outerwear that included plenty of slim black coats and puffer coats. The venue was covered in dead leaves and moss, and featured nine oak and poplar trees that were planted in the middle of the runway.
The set did not sit well with some people, though. It reportedly angered environmentalists like the France Nature Environment. According to Britain’s The Guardian, the maison responded that the authorities have given the brand the green light to cut the trees. And in return for that? Chanel would replant 100 new oak trees in the forest.
Under Demna Gvasalia, the Balenciaga show has become one of the hottest tickets to have during Paris Fashion Week. But the Fall/Winter ’18 turned out to be the chilliest too. For its first co-ed catwalk show, Balenciaga made the models walk around a snow-covered mountain peak that has been swathed in neon-coloured graffiti — a nod to the snowboarding scene of the ’90s which inspired the collection.
Among the slogans we spied on this faux mountain are those mined from previous seasons like “think big”. The extreme sports theme was evident in designs like the hyper-layered jackets and coats (FYI: some pieces were reported to comprise nine layers of outerwear that were bonded together). The use of technology did not end there. For the first time ever, Balenciaga tapped on 3D printing for some of the tailored looks.