the runway typology is enigmatic — while its fundamental purpose is to present a garment collection, it has evolved into a theatrical and architectural experience which is temporary and often interactive.


with new york fashion week underway, designboom looks back on some of our favorite featured runways. 


bureau betak builds blade runner-style grid for esprit dior tokyo show

runway show roundup
image © bureau betak



a sci-fi style, arena-scale construction surrounded models and fashion show attendees at the esprit dior tokyo 2015 presentation. paris-based creative agency bureau betak transformed the vast, square-shaped stage into a gridded, metallic landscape, reminiscent of the capital of japan and its monumental architectural quality. models clad in dior creative director raf simons’ ‘east-meets-west’ themed couture strut beneath a caged construction made of metal bars, hovering just above their heads.



AMO adds a touch of psychedelic to prada show space with re-edition of 1960s inflatable stools by verner panton

runway show roundup
image courtesy of prada



prada has again collaborated with AMO for its men’s spring/summer 2019 show, establishing a set that is industrially elegant with a touch of psychedelic. located within the fashion house’s via fogazzaro space in milan, the exhibition space is treated as an architectural field divided into a series of squares labelled with geographic coordinates that define the positioning of the show’s guests. to complete the set, an exclusive re-edition of inflatable stools, first produced in the 1960s by renowned danish designer verpan panton, are perfectly placed within each square.



light dances through bureau betak’s dramatic mirror-filled pavilion for dior spring 2018 show

runway show roundup
image © bureau betak



bureau betak designs a mirrored pavilion for dior’s spring 2018 collection presented at the musée rodin, paris. the design, inspired by niki de saint phalle’s jardin des tarots, pulls from elements of the artist’s career-long project — her gaudi-esque mosaic-filled, sculpture garden in tuscany. the pavilion’s stark white, concrete interior is decorated with clusters of mirror pieces that creep up the walls, and along the floor and ceiling. 



drones carry dolce & gabbana’s new handbags down the runway

runway show roundup
image courtesy of dolce and gabbana



dolce & gabbana chose drones over humans to carry its handbags down the runway at the ‘secrets & diamonds’ eveningwear event during milan fashion week. a fleet of around 7 hovered along the runway, each one with a dolce & gabbana handbag dangling beneath it.



bureau betak designs surrealist checkered pavilion for dior’s SS18 in paris

runway show roundup
image © bureau betak



studio bureau betak’s unveils another dior runway creation: a checkered-pavilion in paris’ musée rodin for the spring summer 2018 couture show. the set, featuring monochromatic tones and oversized body parts hanging from the ceiling, responds to maria grazia chiuri’s — dior’s creative director — surrealist-inspired runway creations. the dramatic space in gridded black and white was surrounded by white draped-textiles. hanging from the ceiling, different body parts including eyes, ears and torsos, accompanied by bird cages, brought attendees back to surrealist paris.



OMA / AMO arrays blue foam boxes across a gridded field in prada men’s SS 2012 runway

runway show roundup
image by agostino osio



prada’s men’s spring/summer 2012 collection presentation transpired within a runway framework designed by OMA/AMO. a gridded field of 600 blue foam blocks arranged in a 1.5m by 1.5m grid permeated the prada fashion show space in milan. the blocks served as viewer seating as well as edges for the varied catwalk paths, integrating individuals into the show and eliminating the ‘front row’ condition. models filtered between the seats in highly choreographed catwalk patterns, turning along the grid in divergent directions.



iris van herpen and studio drift present an undulating time-lapse fashion show in paris

runway show roundup
image by paul blind | courtesy iris van herpen



for her latest haute couture collection syntopia, iris van herpen collaborates with artists lonneke gordijn and ralph nauta of studio drift — whose work breathes life into their delicate, immersive sculptures through light and movement. the presentation took place on july 2nd, 2018 at le trianon in paris.


‘in 20 steps’, studio drift’s installation, accompanying van herpen’s syntopia collection, is a tribute to a speculative evolution honoring the ultimate human desire to fly. the undulating wings of delicate glass represent the constructive steps of continuous improvement. this glass bird flows together with the models while they move over the runway, their delicate interaction emphasizes the fragility of new worlds living and soaring together.



gucci F/W 18 show featured severed heads, baby dragons and a third eye

runway show roundup
images courtesy of gucci



along a set designed to resemble an operating theatre, models walking in the gucci fall/winter fashion show revealed a rather peculiar accessory: a severed head – and that wasn’t the only oddity. in a show referring to ideas about post-humanism and hybridisation, creative director alessandro michele sent freakishly real looking reptiles, dragons and even cyborgs down the runway. presented during milan fashion week, however unpredictable models with horns and third eyes might be, the show is still a half-expected continuation of the fantasy world from which michele draws his inspiration.



the grand palais is austere and naturalistic for the chanel fall/winter 2018/19 runway

runway show roundup
image courtesy of chanel



beneath the glass vaults of the grand palais in paris, chanel models walk across a bed of fallen leaves in floor-length tweed, wool and corduroy. naturalistic details in the garments mingle with the beautifully dismal autumnal atmosphere.



chanel’s spring/summer 2017 runway presents the robot as the modern woman

runway show roundup
video by chanel



the chanel spring/summer 2017 runway emphasized the modern woman with the backdrop of a contemporary data center. ‘robotic’ models present the collection while others exhibit clutches with LED displays. creative director karl lagerfeld comments: ‘the robot – that is my idea of putting the most iconic jacket of the show on a creature of an unknown future that means chanel is timeless.’