Dezeen Magazine

Sies Marjan Spring Summer 2020 at Surrogate's Court House for New York Fashion Week

15 architectural set designs created for fashion month 2019

Iconic landmarks were transformed into stages for September's fashion shows. We've picked out 15 architecturally influenced set designs during New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week this year.


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Coach SS20 on the High Line, New York, USA

Coach's designer, Stuart Vevers, revealed the house's Spring Summer collection on New York's High Line.

Models walked along the park's elevated pathways, where architectural projects from the Hudson Yards development can be spotted in photographs.

British Vevers is known for his interpretations of America as an outsider in his collections for Coach. This collection is no different, as the models "stomp the High Line" in a way that "celebrates the city".


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Savage x Fenty at Barclay's Centre, New York, USA

Superstar Rihanna took her Savage x Fenty lingerie line to New York Fashion Week, broadcasting the show through online streaming-service Amazon Prime Video.

As opposed to the conventional linear catwalk setup, creative director Willo Perron overhauled the Barclays Centre into a monumental geometric stage set reminiscent of Moroccan architecture.

Longtime collaborator Perron approached the show as entertainment, using Mediterranean motifs and the exuberance of Hollywood musicals to inform the set of the slickly choreographed performance.


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Tom Ford SS20 at Bowery Subway station, New York, USA

An abandoned platform of Bowery Subway station in New York was the stage for Tom Ford's Spring Summer 2020 collection.

Staged alongside the other fully functional platforms, Ford decided on the venue after seeing a photograph of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick appearing from a manhole.

The movie Subway, directed by Luc Besson and set inside the Paris metro, also played a part in the show's location. "Subway. So completely 'New York'," the designer wrote in his show notes. "Or is it?"

Guests were led downstairs onto the underground platform and seated between catwalks. Subway signage was left in place, such as the exit signs, platform and station names lit dimly in the violet-blue hues of the show.


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Tommy Hilfiger at Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York, USA

Tommy Hilfiger revealed its Fall Winter 2019 collection – rather than a Spring Summer 2020 collection – on the roof of the iconic Apollo Theatre in Harlem during the recent fashion week.

Vintage cars were parked in front of a backdrop of three terraced-houses, where live singers and musicians were sat by the streetscape. A velvet sofa sat in between the two doorways, with three single-seater chairs and a coffee table adding to the set.

It was designed to bring back the "cinematic '70s Harlem twist", to reflect the confidence and celebration of inclusivity and diversity for the See Now, Buy Now FW19 collection.


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Sies Marjan SS20 at Surrogate's Court House, New York, USA

Guests at Sies Marjan's Spring Summer 2020 show were seated inside the Surrogate's Courthouse, a Beaux-arts government building in lower Manhattan.

The interior atrium, where the collection was revealed, boasts lavish marble interiors with upper-level archways offering glimpses of staircases and rooms beyond. Models strolled through the upper corridors and down the split staircase into the central area, dressed in equally grandiose clothes.

In the words of creative director Sander Lak, the New York-based brand showcased its collection as "a rejection of irony, bad taste, satire, reality TV and kitsch".


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Roksanda SS20 at Serpentine Pavilion, London, UK

Serbian-born designer and upcoming Dezeen Day speaker Roksanda Ilincic acquired this year's Serpentine Pavilion to show her Spring Summer 2020 collection.

Under the slate canopy designed by Junya Ishigami, a yellowy orange path zigzagged across the grassy landscape to mark the runway, but also as a nod to the saffron pathways of The Floating Piers by Christo.

The grey slate contrasted with the bright path, for a collection showcasing coloured highlights in dusty pink, scarlet red and yellow turtleneck collars.


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Anya Hindmarch Postbox handbag at Brewer Street car park, London, UK

London fashion designer Anya Hindmarch celebrated the debut of her Postbox handbag at London Fashion Week with a bright-red maze the colour of London's postboxes – the main inspiration for the bag.

Influenced by the patterns and forms of work by MC Escher, the brand looked to his Metamorphosis III mural which was designed for The Hague's post office 50 years ago. In this, the graphic artist depicts the transformations of pattern, animals and shapes that warp and transform into something else.

As a continuation of the post office-theme, Hindmarch hoped to imitate "getting lost in letter writing" through the maze.


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Jil Sander womenswear SS20 at Accademia di Brera, Milan, Italy

The prestigious Accademia di Brera art academy in Milan set the scene for Jil Sander's womenswear Spring Summer 2020 show, which was designed around a theme of harmonious opposites.

Led by Luke and Lucie Meier, minimalist ready-to-wear clothing matched the classical, timeless architecture of the school. The duo filled Pinacoteca di Brera, the main gallery, with piles of white sand.

Balancing the minimalism of the sand and the maximalism of the 18th-century features, the collection also reflected thematic opposing styles. Soft silk fabrics, raffia and sequinned detailing were added to the structured tailoring that the brand is known for.


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Missoni RTW20 at Bagni Misteriosi, Milan, Italy

Monumental sets were popular for shows at Milan Fashion Week, as Missoni revealed its ready-to-wear collection around the public pools of Bagni Misteriosi with an audience of over 1,000.

Featuring suits and feminine bohemian dresses, the collection reflected Angela Missoni's "joyful, happy and light" concept by mixing zigzags, polka dots and crochet textures into one outfit.

Taking place the day after the Global Climate Strike, Missoni called for action on climate change during the final walk as models carried portable solar-powered lamps in their hands. Called Little Sun, 1,000 of the lamps were lent for the show by their creator Olafur Eliasson.


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Balenciaga at Cité du Cinema studio complex, Paris, France

Amphitheatre-like seating spiralled outwards for Balenciaga's set design for its Paris Fashion Week show, which took place in Cité du Cinema – a studio and complex supported by film director Luc Besson.

The monochromatic set made for distinctive blue photographs on social media – the same hue used by the European Union.

The audience attending the show were deliberately troubled with glaring strip lighting turned up to the brightest setting, air conditioning turned down to chill and walls covered floor to ceiling in velvet.

Creative director Demna Gvasalia worked with scent scientist Sissel Tolaas to release smells of antiseptic, blood, money and petrol throughout the show, designed to encapsulate the scent of power.


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Thom Browne SS20 at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts, Paris, France

The extravagant world of Versailles seen through a white, 1980s lens exploded on the runway for Thom Browne's Spring Summer 2020 collection.

Walking, and ballet dancing, in the hall of Paris' École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts, models were dressed in white birdcage skirts, breasted jackets and held mid-century hats on sceptres.

Square plinths and flowers were planted on the ground and painted white to match the runway. Above, white birds in flight are suspended in the air to match the aesthetic of the gardens of Versailles.


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Chanel SS20 at Grand Palais, Paris, France

Chanel opted for a quintessentially Parisian reveal of its Spring Summer collection. Creative director Virginie Viard modelled the rooftop set after Rue Cambon, the location of the luxury brand's office for over 100 years.

Zinc-clad roofs and garret windows replicating the fenestration of the office were installed inside the Grand Palais for the show.

Dressed in the perennial Chanel look of tweed jackets and matching skirts, models stepped around the elevated walkways and chimney gables that "pay tribute to Paris".


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Rick Owens SS20 at Musee de l'Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, France

American designer Rick Owens borrowed the exterior of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris for the show. Influenced by his maternal Mexican heritage, he named it Tecuatl – his grandmother's maiden name – to connect with his heritage in light of recent discussions about Trump's border wall.

Relief sculptures of mythological figures adorning the walls behind were a fitting match to Owens' collection. Models dressed as "stoic Bauhaus Aztec priestesses in an Art Deco Valhalla" walked through the central colonnaded portico and around the shallow water pool.

Headdresses were designed to fit into a Fritz Lang movie, and the geometric lines of Josef and Anni Albers were translated into straps and lacing details.


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Miu Miu SS20 at Palais d'Iena, Paris, France

Set within the Palais d'Iena, OMA research arm AMO transformed two naves of the hall into an "off-centred installation of unbalanced monumentality" for Miu Miu at Paris Fashion Week.

The set is constructed from one overarching material – OSB wood – designed to contrast with the stone of the Palais. A curved wooden staircase was built by the studio at the back, placed behind the central colonnade.

Architectural features such as the capital of a column were half-clad with the wood, to give a glimpse of the elaborate interior features contrasted against the simplicity of the mono-material set.


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Saint Laurent womenswear SS20 at the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Yves Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello held the brand's Paris show at the city's most recognisable landmark, the Eiffel Tower.

The all-black catwalk was installed with more than 100 pivoting spotlights, shining white beams into the dark sky in front of the iconic building which was warmly lit in orange on the night.

Designed by Bureau Betak, the dramatic light show was combined with the models dressed in Vaccarello's statement black attire – an aesthetic that reminded guests of a rock concert.

Veteran British model Naomi Campbell closed the show, wearing a fully sequinned suit reflecting the light of the spotlights and Eiffel Tower behind.