In addition to the cutting-edge collections strutting down the catwalks during Fashion Week, the runway sets themselves can be just as spectacular — particularly in recent years when designers and their creative teams have let their imaginations run wild when it comes to reimagining the traditional runway. While some designers like to keep the runway simple and clean, the brands showing at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month definitely flexed their creative muscles to reinterpret the runway. From Chanel’s beach party at the Grand Palais to Dior’s sparkling modern dance hall, here are 7 wondrous runway sets from Paris Fashion Week SS19.
From a supermarket to a rocket launch runway show, it seems there’s nothing that’s off limits when it comes to Chanel’s set pieces. During Paris Fashion Week, the couture atelier turned Le Grand Palais into a beach with a sandy and serene seashore and real lifeguards on duty. Models walked barefoot, carrying their shoes in hand as they sauntered across the sandy runway. It was undoubtedly another magnificent set from mastermind Karl Lagerfeld.
2. Christian Dior
Dior took the fashion crowd out to the famous Hippodrome de Longchamp for an enchanting evening of contemporary dance combined with spectacular fashion. Lit up by 136 projectors, the stage was transformed into a modern dance hall, as models walking among the dancers who performed a piece directed by Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal. The collection by Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by dance and movement, effectively combining the runway and the stage into one.
The first time moving its show to Paris Fashion Week, Gucci released its Spring Summer 2019 collection at the famed Théâtre Le Palace. The historic venue is well-known for being one of the hottest nightspots and discotheques during the 1970s, with strong ties to Parisian culture and nightlife. The historic setting proved to the the perfect backdrop for Gucci’s collection which drew from different time periods and historical references.
Balenciaga brought us a colourful and futuristic journey from the mind of creative director Demna Gvasalia. Inside the glass tunnels covered with LED screens, a stunning video installation by the Canadian artist Jon Rafman played out against the walls. From within this dystopian runway set, Gvasalia presented a collection which steered away from Balenciaga’s signature streetwear look — instead presenting a collection of glamourous, carefully tailored power pieces.
Virgil Abloh unveiled the Off-White SS19 collection on a sports track as a backdrop for his blend of streetwear and athleisure looks. The star-studded show enlisted not only supermodels such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, but also Nike-endorsed athletes including American sprinter English Gardner, British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Hong Kong high-jumper Cecilia Yeung to showcase the intersection of high fashion and sportswear.
6. Louis Vuitton
Last but certainly not least, Paris Fashion Week culminated in an epic show by Louis Vuitton. On the final evening of the whirlwind week, the venerable Maison created an illuminated glass promenade circling the Pyramide du Louvre with great pools of water in the centre. The collection highlighted charming asymmetrical party dresses in the ’90s style as reimagined by creative director Nicholas Ghesquière, in addition to padded jackets, silky shorts and minis, and leather waistcoats.