Fashion shows function like contemporary theater. They allow designers to extend their vision with an overall theme, colors, light, music, hair and makeup and model direction. The choice of location, platform and props are also important, as are the guests and commercial component. The fashion show has become such a production most designers now hire producers to supervise the runway, models and guests. See the history of the runway here.
Malcom Barnard describes the shows of John Gallino as "the appearance of theater,” and “the influence of theater through the use of decadent set design, props and make-up.” Galliano's shows for his own label are consistently more daring than his presentations with Dior.
In fashion shows, one of the most innovative teams is Villa Eugenie. You already know Villa Eugenie by their magnificent fashion show sets. The Brussels based team is led by Etienne Russo. Clients include Chanel, Dries Van Noten, YSL, Miu Miu, Maison Martin Margiela, Lanvin, Hermés, Hugo Bosss, Sonia Rykiel, Olivier Strelli, and the Adidas-backed Y-3. Russo started as a model for Dries Van Noten then designed the first show for him in 1991. By 1995, the team was working for a glass enclosed office space dreaming up big productions.
Best in show
Jean Paul Gaultier and his radical theater
Gaultier's famous show based on a Hasidic Jew theme created controversy in the fashion world
Recent Gaultier using a cinema theme
Imitation of Christ is known for its theatrical shows
Always mesmerizing Hussein Chalayan
Pugh, S 2009
Barnard also describes performance artist Vanessa Beecroft. For VB 52 she created a several course meal in the costume color of participating models.
Leigh Bowery was an Australian avant garde performance artist in the gay club seen of London and New York. He created many of his own costumes and self-portraits. He died in 1987. Interview and Performance
Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese performance artist who came to New York in the 1960’s. She created her own costumes and decorated mannequins and used the same pattern in all her work and installations.
Marina Abramovic is a Serbian performance artist concerned with the body and presentation. She makes her own costumes and sets. She is best known for her work “Art must be beautiful / Artist must be beautiful” and in 2005, 7 easy pieces recreated performances for the Guggenheim.