When Art, Fashion and Architecture Collide

As we approach S/S 2010, we thought we’d take a look through some of the most innovative fashion show and retail spaces of the past 12 months.  Intelligent retailers such as Anthropologie (see our review here) have embraced the potential of offering more than merely a ‘backdrop’ to their wares, by creating stores that engage all the senses.  Fashion on the catwalk has always worked on charging the emotion and the senses to create the most drama around the product, here we look at some of the recent venues used to showcase some of the most creative global designers work.


Galliano chose to show in the abandoned Piscine Molitor in Paris – a haven for graffiti artists and notably the place where the first bikini was worn in 1945.

Dior Homme s/s 2010, catwalk

The Dior Homme show, set within Haussmann’s Carreau du Temple, Paris embodied the concept of angles and triangles.  With a strict black and white aesthetic that is also carried into the Dior stores concepts.

Hedi Slimane’s store for Dior in Los Angeles a slick black and white angular scheme with pristine white shelves jutting out from black lacquered walls.



In contrast to the linearity of the Los Angeles store Dior’s Paris store was embodied by Italian artist Andrea Mastraito’s installation of black butterflies spreading through the store.

Prada s/s 2010- staged by Rem Koolhaas.

Prada extended their relationship with Rem Koolhaas from the design of their stores to the catwalk (he is the architect responsible for Prada store New York).  Continuing to push boundaries, the catwalk was hidden between one edge of the existing room and a seven meter high wall, with a narrow slit through which people could watch the show.

Extending brand to real physical space was demonstrated best this year by Koolhaas’s ‘Transformer’.  A shifting pavillion which moved from one face to another, each time creating a different spatial and programmatic experience inside, from catwalk space, to art gallery, to cinema to retail space.  As Rem Koolhass describes it “instead of doing one pavillion for each event, the trigger for this pavillion was to something with not one identity but four identities. This space represents the collaboration between art and fashion, between fashion and architecture, between fashion and cinema.”  The pavillion was displayed adjacent to the traditional Gyeonghui Palace in Seoul during April 2009.

Prada Transformer Views- Rem Koolhaas.

The four different faces of Prada's Transformer by Rem Koolhaas

Prada Transformer, "Waist Down" exhibition May 2009.

Like a three-dimensional kaleidoscope, internal spaces of Transformer shift as the pavilion moves

Prada, through their ongoing relationship with Koolhaas, one of the architectural world’s enfants terribles, have ventured into new and exciting environments in which to house their brand.  This not only illustrates the creative drive of founder Miuccia Prada, but more so the intelligence of their brand’s founder in realising the importance of citizen journalism for the viral spread of the brand across as many cultural and social platforms as possible.  As one of the most talked about fashion spaces of the past year on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, Transformer cleverly cascaded the creativity at the heart of the brand to an excited audience.


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