5 Fashion Show Stage Design Ideas Inspired by New York Fashion Week

When it comes Fashion Event Design creativity is everything. Want the proof? Just look at New York Fashion Week (#NYFW) which just wrapped up their fall shows this week. We wanted to dive into this gargantuan fashion event from an event planner’s perspective. Watch the video below to see what we learned from this year’s city-wide fashion takeover, and keep reading for more ideas and event design inspiration.

What are the Challenges of Putting on Runway Events?

New York Fashion Week is held in February and September of each year, is a semi-annual city-wide event (generally lasting 7–9 days) when international fashion collections are shown to buyers, the press, and the general public.

Each fashion week has more than 100 events throughout the week including runway shows, charity events, gala dinners, and showcases. With so many events and venues to manage, getting  VIP attendees to show up is no easy task. For planners, it’s the ultimate test in timing and logistics, which means there’s no breathing room for errors.

Timing, set, design, photographers, social media, crowds; these are all factors that the success of a fashion event hinges on. Most fashion events last for only 15 – 20 minutes. Runway design and room decor is everything for planners that are tasked to translate a fashion designer’s aesthetic into an event space filled with hundreds of people.

Think of it like a city-wide convention. Roughly 125,000 people from around the world attend the shows in person, and a little over 2 million indulge in live streams.

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What Fashion Event Design Trends Did We See This Year?

This year was all about bringing the runway out of the box (and onto the street in some cases). And that’s not just true for the fashion world. Meeting and event planners across any industry are looking for new and exciting venue types. So who did it best at fashion week? Here are our top five best event venues and top five best overall set design at New York Fashion Week 2016.

5 Best Runway Event Venues

Tommy Hilfiger – Pier 16

Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger will show TommyxGigi at Pier 16 – wwd.com

Tommy Hilfiger took over a working Manhatten pier for his runway showcase. The designer leaned into a boardwalk/carnival theme as a backdrop to his spring collection.

Yeezy – Roosevelt Island

Hot and sunny. (AP Photo/Leanne Italie) qz.com

Just like his clothing line, Yeezy kept it simple. The rapper staged his runway event on an open lawn in the middle of Roosevelt Island. The only problem was, that he didn’t anticipate just how the heat would affect the models, some of which had to be escorted to the sidelines in the middle of the event.

Tracy Reese – New York’s Marble Cemetery

What could be more off-beat than an East-Village Cemetery? Fashion Designer, Tracy Reese, reanimated the underground crypts of New York’s Marble cemetery with a new show that was anything but dead.

Sies Marjan – New York City Bar Association

Sies Marjan decided that the perfect place to showcase their latest concepts was the library of the New York bar association. And best of all the design house didn’t do much to transform the space. Seis Marjan decided that hallways of bookshelves we’re the perfect backdrop for the Spring collection. They even invited attendees to the show using those classic library cards you remember from middle school.

Ralph Lauren – Madison Avenue

Madison Avenue Atrium (wsj.com)

Madison Avenue is the mecca of New York fashion retail. This time, the legendary design house had to work with the mayor’s office to close off Madison Avenue between 71st and 72nd Streets to stage a show of a new fall 2016 collection. That’s where the iconoclast designer built a glass atrium to house the runway, and the models showcasing the latest collection.

5 Best Overall Event Designs

Coach 1941 RTW Spring 2017 (wwd.com)

Coach – Stacked rusted cars in the center of arena

Rodarte – Inspired by Janis Joplin and bees the runway had floral arrangements surround the chairs and models!

Alice & Olivia – Models were flanked by life-size Tarot cards as they made their way down the runway.

Yeezy – No runway, no seating. Just simple

29 Rooms – A massive, immersive art show installation inside of an 80,000-square-foot Brooklyn warehouse.

What’s the Biggest Take Away for Event Planners

If fashion week can teach us anything, it’s that creative venues and event design can foster event engagement in a real way. Fashion event designers know this better than anyone else. Any event planner can look at the event design at runway events in the same way we look at new clothing lines. Think of them as concepts and use the ideas as inspiration. Pick and choose the elements that work best for your audience.

What were your favorite designs from New York Fashion Week? Follow @socialtables on twitter and let us know.

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