Fashion shows are very popular with the middle and upper class sector, where they’re spending a large amount of money for designer clothes, or want to see them before they’re launched. There may be retailers or other outlets attending, who will order several outfits or multiple quantities of each. It is of the utmost importance to have these items well lit and elegantly showcased. This is a job for a professional lighting designer who knows what will look good and what won’t. There is no room for shoddy or makeshift lighting. There must be a sizable budget allowed for lighting, as this is the most important aspect of a fashion show.
Most fashion show decor is highlighted in white or very light colors. You don’t want anything blending with the outfits, or drowning them out. All attention must be addressed on the clothing being demonstrated.
Rigging a lot of incandescent and focused light overhead is key also. It cancels out shadows, and uniformly highlights the subject from the start of the runway, and down to the end and back. It also keeps lighting out of the eyes of potential buyers, and allow them to get a good look at the product. Be sure to focus them in opposite directions as the models will be returning the way they entered.
Fashion show up lighting is as equally important as the overhead down lighting. You will want to lighten up any dark areas the down lighting will cause, and make sure the fabric is showcased the proper way. Shadows can play tricks on the eyes, and make an object or product seem much different if not eliminated.
Try to avoid harsh colors for the most part. If certain coloring matches a specific theme, then be sure to have your lighting designer program them to be somewhat subtle, and not distract the natural colors of the fabric. You want the audience members to see exactly what they’re interested in, and in the way it was designed.
Spotlighting is important for fashion show runways, as it not only lights up the front of the subject, but directs the audience’s attention to the next model or product up for show. A big mistake in spotlighting is to only have one, and aimed directly from the front. Lighting head on, especially on a thin runway, can blind whoever is walking, and can potentially be a safety hazard. It can also cause shadowy effects on the sides, and not give the product its full potential. Be sure and do some test runs with the spots in case they need to be dimmed or moved for maximum exposure.
Fashion show lighting rentals must be obtained through a lighting design professional, and someone with experience in your specific type event. Clothing designers want to sell clothes and product, and lighting is crucial to achieve this goal. You want those same clothing manufacturers to return again next year, along with others, and ability to sell is their only goal. Don’t skimp on budget for lighting, as this is your key to a successful fashion show!