All the Catwalk’s a Stage – Rethinking Performance in Presentation.

Rick Owens "Vicious" Collection 2014

Rick Owens “Vicious” Collection 2014

Finally, after years of predictability on catwalks, theatricality is edging its way into the limelight. Shouldn’t it be obvious – the catwalk is a space for performance, yet the designers who really took advantage of this in recent decades are pretty few and far between. In terms of the last ten years, it’s mainly Alexander McQueen and John Galliano springing to mind. Although last year, Rick Owen’s managed to rock the boat with his intimidating and marvellously choreographed collection during Paris S/S 2014 edition. And this event seems to have marked a departure from the certain to the spectacular.


Owen’s incredible ‘coup de théâtre’ which presented a pulsating performance by forty terrifying step-dancers was the talking point of the week’s calendar. Its greatest success being that it made it off the week’s calendar and into the general household too – marking a successful PR coup and a victory in terms of accessibility to high-end fashion.


The trend has certainly caught on, but the move from the leggy model as cloth-hangar seems to have too. This season, New York based label, Opening Ceremony (having created a catwalk complete with flanking walls dripping in chocolate last February) have decided to showcase their collection completely off the catwalk and on actors, in a theatre production, directed by Spike Jonze.


Opening Ceremony's Chocolate Wall

Opening Ceremony’s Chocolate Wall

Humberto Leon, one of the label’s co-founders, and who previously worked as costume designer for Jonze’s film ‘Her’, has stated “We are a generation where we want to do a show and have fun with it – we try to infuse that into everything we work on. By collaborating with artists and influencers outside of the realm of fashion, we get to expand our communities.”


Kelly Rowland taste tests the wall at Opening Ceremony

Kelly Rowland taste tests the wall at Opening Ceremony


Designer Gareth Pugh, has also spoken out about the oddity which is the fashion industry’s reluctance to present things in a new and fresh way. He state that performance can only be used to the designer’s advantage – giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their work in a way that appeals to the potential client’s intelligence and spark further curiosity about the brand itself, which in turn builds a more faithful customer base.


Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh

There is certainly an exciting change in store for the catwalk performance. The boat has been rocked, the appetite whetted, now we can only wait to see what spirals forth, and wait with bated breath for the approaching fashion weeks.



Report by Liv Monaghan


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