Fashion shows are never just about the clothes. They are also about the experience. Every season, designers tell a story through their creations or take you to a fantasy that becomes tangible.
The fashion show completes this through the music, the lighting and the set design. Throw in a little bit of drama from the models themselves and it can become an unforgettable presentation. For example, I can still remember the “gag” Valentino played on us when they sent Derek Zoolander and Hansel down the runway, anticipating the premiere of “Zoolander 2”.
There are also the lavish worlds designers love to present. For this, I believe it’s impossible not to mention Alexander McQueen. In his heyday, McQueen didn’t shy away from drama with the use of fire, holographs, water and spray-painting robots to articulate his designs further.
As I prepare for September’s slew of fashion shows, I’m excited with what the designers and labels have up their sleeves. Based on recent shows and their track record, I’ve listed down the fashion shows that put on a spectacle whenever they send models down the catwalk.
You never know what you will get from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. His shows transport people to airport lounges, restaurants, the streets and the woods. The setup always matches the story which Lagerfeld presents through his latest designs. You don’t just get a new trend but also a mood and lifestyle you can dream about.
In Raf Simons’ A/W 2012 collection for Dior, he used a million flowers to adorn the Parisian mansion where the show was to be held. Maria Grazia Chiuri, the new creative director of the brand, followed suit when it came to statement-making shows with disembodied ears and hands floating above the models, clips from feminist essays as show notes and other powerful statements that embody the Dior woman.
One should always trust Jeremy Scott to make things irreverent. Aside from scene-stealing and ultra-trendy clothes, Moschino’s excitement on the runway easily translates across borders. Scott has played with neon light and even a carnival layout to match his clothes.
4. Alexander Wang
Another designer who loves to drive up the adrenaline with his shows. He’s not afraid of wide open spaces, making you feel like you’re in a rave party, or simply making models walk out into the streets from a bus. It’s always a bit rugged and unconventional for this athleisure designer.
5. Rick Owens
Rick Owens made models walk with replicas of their heads. He made models wear one another. There is nothing too wild for this streetwear designer. Owens’ shows explore the chaotic nature of urban living.
The rebirth of Gucci via creative director Alessandro Michele has brought about heart-stopping shows. Expect a visual treat whenever you’re at a Gucci show, where everything isn’t quite what you’ll expect it to be. Elaborate sets and shocking model antics can always be expected at a Gucci show.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the label that made models walk on water—well, sort of. When Fendi celebrated its 90th anniversary, Karl Lagerfeld decided it was appropriate to build a transparent stage over the Trevi Fountain in Italy.
8. Maison Margiela
The label that came from a designer who held fashion shows under the bridge, at Salvation Army headquarters and various odd venues, still continues on with that tradition.
9. Hussein Chalayan
If you want something experimental and out-of-the-box, watch a Chalayan show. The label always plays with theatrics but can also go completely stripped down, just to make sure you don’t get too comfortable.
10. Louis Vuitton
I’m putting this in because with Virgil Abloh at the helm, I think we can all expect something eye-popping from the heritage brand. Not to mention an A++ guestlist for the front row.
Ria Prieto is an editor, columnist and consultant who loves all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle. To read more of her musings, log on to www.riarecommends.com.