Immersive Vogue Exhibition to Examine Runways Past and Present

When the immersive London exhibition venue Lightroom announced The Moonwalkers, a high-budget production narrated by Tom Hanks charting the first landing on the lunar surface, the aim was to allow visitors to relive those historic small steps and the “giant leap for mankind.”

For the venue’s next project, the focus will be on historic steps of a very different kind. “Vogue: Inventing the Runway” will explore the history of the catwalk, from the intimate couture salons of the early 20th century to the all-singing, all-dancing global productions of the present.

The exhibition, announced on Monday, will aim to lift the curtain on one of the industry’s most symbolic experiences, showing attenders the inside workings of fashion shows.

“At Vogue we’ve been lucky enough over the decades to see many incredible runway shows, which have often told the story of fashion as much as the clothes themselves,” said Anna Wintour, the chief content officer of Condé Nast, and global editorial director of Vogue.

The list of houses and designers involved reads like a who’s who of the industry, past and present. It includes names like Gucci, Balenciaga, Versace, Burberry, Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Prada, as well as new ones such as Martine Rose and Simon Porte Jacquemus.

The show will feature designers moving out of the industry spotlight, such as Dries van Noten, who staged the swansong show of his label after more than three decades. It also includes designers reaching the heights of household notoriety, such as Jonathan Anderson.

Chioma Nnadi, head of editorial content at British Vogue, remarked, “It’s fitting to host this Lightroom experience within skipping distance of Central Saint Martins,” referencing Alexander McQueen, a notable alumnus of the London art school.

The venue’s technology – four-storey walls and a 360-degree canvas – will be used to help project the spectacle of modern catwalk shows. Chanel’s rockets and Elton John’s Rocket Man come to mind.

Though criticized for exclusivity, social media has somewhat democratized fashion week. However, some backlash remains, such as The Row’s no-phones edict at their show during Paris fashion week.

Wintour highlighted that the exhibition offers “a wonderful opportunity for a lot more people to experience first-hand the thrill of watching the history of fashion unfold right in front of them.”

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