by STIRworldMar 16, 2023
Obliterating the distinction between ideas and reality, scenographies of fashion shows, especially those of sartorial luxury brands have evolved into an art form. Consider the monolithic and glowing oasis for Saint Laurent's spring/summer 2023 menswear show in the Moroccan desert by Es Devlin, or Bureau Betak’s paradisiacal frozen pavilion created out of 80,000 mirror shards installed by hand for Dior spring collection of 2018 at the Musée Rodin in Paris. These elaborate, dreamy, and sometimes outrageous set designs augment the fashion designers' garments, orating their visions through designed spaces.
A simple catwalk can theatrically transform into extravagant events and immersive experiences through clever, functional builds, smoke, mirrors, elaborate flower arrangements, choreographed lighting, and resounding playlists—as iconic and compelling as the fashion collections that take the stage. Some would deliberate on the curated spatiality of fashion shows to be as crucial as the clothes being showcased, and perhaps, it is this unabashed creative approach that makes these set designs exceedingly memorable.
The Prada fall/winter 2023 collection by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons ideates modernist perceptions of reduction and simplicity, displayed by contrasting ideas of—comfort, exaggeration, and intimacy. Following these ideals with an attempt to showcase them, AMO, the non-architectural research and design studio attached to Rem Koolhaas' studio OMA, integrates the collection’s concept with architecture. As a result, the show space is an expanse of shifting perspectives—an exposed concrete ceiling with an interplay of lights enhancing the garments and redefining the identity of dimensions and scales. A similar ideation, of abstract sequences of spaces, was followed in their recent Fall/ Winter Menswear digital show, where the creation of interconnected rooms with geometric footprints was exhibited for the collection titled 'Possible Feelings'.
Scenography is designed to transform the nature of space and highlight the details of any collection. The space, inside the Deposito at Fondazione Prada, too, is altered radically by the contrast of kinetic elements, industrial materiality and scale. Rows of benches made using concrete occupy the empty room. The ceiling slowly rises to unveil a range of three-metre tall chandeliers, eventually withdrawing to their initial positions. The play of lights is directed to enhance the experience by morphing from a dark, low-ceiling expanse to a large-scale salon-like space. This play of space-morphing continues through the show, enthralling the audience with an episode that shifts dimensions and redefines the characters of the runway.
The outcome of possibilities when architecture and fashion coalesce offers a vast range. A static runway can only come alive when it’s explored to its full potential—in terms of space, dimensions, and ways of showcasing. The Milanese label has always leaned toward intellect in fashion, with precise detail to material, design, and execution. AMO and Prada have been associated for over a decade, starting with the 2004 featuring AMO wallpapers for the menswear A/W outing and the 2009 design of the Prada Transformer—a temporary form in Seoul, Korea.
Rem Koolhaas and his AMO team have created experiences providing the high fashion industry with an innovative and extravagant service, enhancing the characteristics of runway shows. Some notable collaborative projects include the abstracted wall for Prada S/S 2010 womenswear, the steel ‘house’ design for the Fall 2011 menswear followed by an elevated metal grille stage for the 2011 menswear and womenswear and the 2012 menswear show, held on a field of blue foam blocks, on artificial grass.
The Prada x AMO collaborative doesn’t fail to give its audiences a unique overall experience. This time, the design, including the shift of perspectives with an interplay of kinetic elements and light experiments, has created a unique conceptual performance, maintaining the streak of exceptional collaborations.
(Text by Aaryaa Joshi, intern at STIRworld)