Theatre on the Runway

Theatre on the Runway

moncler
Moncler Grenoble Fall/Winter 2015

The finale of the Moncler show last week consisted of a group make out session. The models, sporting full ski attire and posed on floating platforms, suddenly turned toward each other for a passionate embrace. This was quite a deviation from the norm of models simply strutting the catwalk.

More and more, designers are moving away from traditional runway shows.

At this year’s spring New York week there was no shortage of spectacles. At Thom Browne, snow fell above three models who rose from the dead on gurneys at the start of the show. Rachel Comey’s show included a dinner party where Traccee Ellis Ross performed a monologue on the vagina as “the doorway to the soul.”

thom browne
Thom Browne Fall/Winter 2015

This week there was no shortage of spectacles. At Thom Browne, snow fell above three models who rose from the dead on gurneys at the start of the show. For their final walk, models at Libertine held out their cellphones and danced down the runway. Because why not?

Just like elaborate venues, runway performances raise the question if the performance enhances the clothes.

Designers use drama as a way to heighten the experience of viewing their collection. The hope is to give the audience an experience that transports them to another time or place. The clothes take on association with a character.

By using performances, designers could be hoping to create hype. Online buzz during fashion week pertains to venues or performances as much as the clothes themselves. Perhaps some designers use runway performances as a publicity stunt or gimmick to distract from a lackluster collection.

The shift to dramatic runway shows reflects may reflect a growing need for designers to keep people guessing in order to stay relevant. If this fashion week was any indication, designers think a good performance is as important as a good collection.

When done well, a little drama can heighten the experience of viewing a collection. The runway can make a great stage.

Renee Cherry

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