LIVE WIRES: A number of designers conscripted live performers to push their messages and animate their shows for the spring collections — a fresh antidote to a screen-infested era.
While many of the performances were upbeat and even slightly humorous, Issey Miyake designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae used modern dance to set a contemplative tone to the spring show — while showing off the technical sides of the label’s fabrics.
The trio of contemporary dancers, Aliashka Salamand Hilsum, Princess Madoki and Gala Moody, all from different backgrounds, banded together to kick off the show. Building anticipation, they started out by pushing their hands behind a fabric wall, thrusting them deeper and deeper before tumbling out from the sides. They twisted and turned, shaping the fabric into unrecognizable forms and then, suddenly, sprinted down the runway barefoot. The theme was Iceland, and geologic memory; the dance performance served to fuse the past with futuristic materials.
For Kenzo, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon turned their runway collection into a sideshow as a group of Japanese Kagura dancers performed the tale of an eight-headed, girl-eating dragon in vibrant colors. The spirited performance was led by a trilling flute melody, punctuated by drum-beating and played by traditional musicians from the Hiroshima Prefecture.
Other live performances brought a lighthearted touch to the shows. Dancers from Chicago’s Hiplet troupe heralded the beginning of Giambattista Valli’s Moncler Gamme Rouge show, tip-toeing across the runway on pointe and flashing broad smiles as Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” loped in the background. The style mix reflected the collection’s blend of elegant performance-worthy wear with more relaxed street clothes, projecting a broader shift in fashion.
Lacoste had a live band play jazzy and easy-listening renditions of Daft Punk tunes led by musician Christophe Chassol, while male and female models criss-crossed the stadium-like setting in retro looks that Felipe Oliveira Baptista designed for the sporty, crocodile label.
Vanessa Seward, the Argentinian-born, Paris-based designer called on Catastrophe to play the piano and sing live for her feminine show at the Argentinian embassy. The self-described artistic group of young people sang in French, repeating the simple refrain: “spring, summer, dress me!”