Fashion Week is no longer just about the collections. With increasingly bigger budgets, the best shows now incorporate extensive production, technology, social media and scenic elements to magnify the designs and create a more immersive experience for guests. Over the years, fashion week has seen elaborate installations such as neon basketball courts, protest marches, winter wonderland carousels and the Great Wall of China.
This year’s fashion week in Paris showcased Karl Lagerfeld’s most recent Chanel collection with a tranquil turn. Designed by Thom Browne, Chanel created a beautiful and calming serene setting ‘Life’s a Beach’. This Instagrammable scene fitted seamlessly into the Grand Palais consisting of perfect white sand, a lapping shoreline and clean wooden bench seating, not to mention lifeguard chairs and a beach hut. The show has been the talk of the town online, taking simplicity to the new level, Chanel’s choice to put the shoes into the model’s hands shows forward thinking in the fashion industry, along with easing up on the towering heels so commonly seen on the catwalk.
Earlier on this year we saw Chanel transform the Grand Palais into an authentic autumnal woodland, which saw real trees, a mossy leafy catwalk and scents of a forest; another perfect example of the brand transforming an innocent concept into something magnificent.
Similar to Chanel, brands like Dior and Saint Laurent extended their collections through visual aids and performing arts, utilising dancers and water to capture the audience and transform their show into a 360 experience. Dior’s feminine confidence inspired collection was mirrored by dark and echoing scenery which posed as a perfect platform for the strong and empowering line.
But why is it so important to extend a brand into set and scenic designs? The simple answer is that we live in a visual age, we now crave multi-sensory experiences which are shareable, intimate and breath-taking. Pulling out and elaborating their brand characteristics, Chanel show case this across the entire brand, creating and sustaining an iconic empire.