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Brief Published: 28 Aug 2014

Runway Drama: NYFW S/S 2015

Rick Owens S/S 14

Fashion designers are increasingly foregoing the traditional runway presentation format in favour of elaborate shows that hit multiple creative touchpoints in an effort to build more encompassing, dramatic worlds around their Spring/Summer 2015 collections.

British designer Gareth Pugh is set to make his New York Fashion Week debut with an “immersive live performance” that will kick off the week’s events. Involving both live dancers and video, Pugh acknowledged it’s not the most commercial approach, but also told the New York Times that it’s just as important to “sell a dream” as it is to communicate a garment. This desire to pitch a deeper branded experience is driving others to similarly amp up their presentations. 

US fashion brand Opening Ceremony will showcase its latest collection as a theatrical one-act play written by American actor Jonah Hill and directed by long-time brand collaborator Spike Jonze. The play is due to feature both professional actors and models.

American designer Jeremy Scott also hinted at an unconventional performance-based runway presentation by announcing his collaboration with US pop singer Miley Cyrus. It will feature a “group of cool kids, rather than models” – mirroring the marketing trend for brand advocates adopted by the likes of Marc Jacobs. Read New Brand Ambassadors for more insight.

Post-fashion week, the museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) will open a timely exhibition on Dance and Fashion and the historical relationship between these two art forms. Highlights include pieces from US designer Rick Owens’ S/S 14 Paris show, where models were replaced by step dancers who stormed the runway in a high-energy routine, and French designer Christian Dior’s ‘Black Swan’ ball gown 

For more on catwalk as theatre, see: Men’s Catwalks S/S 15: Show Spaces and Women’s Catwalks A/W 15-16: Show Spaces. See also Meet The Set Designers and Art-Fuelled Fashion Spaces for insight into how fashion brands are increasingly showcasing their product in creative ways.