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Lightroom to premiere ‘Inventing the Runway’ fashion history

The Inventing the Runway immersive exhibition exploring the history of the fashion runway premieres at London's Lightroom, on four-storey walls and 360-degree canvas, in October

Panasonic projectors will power Inventing the Runway, a new immersive exhibition exploring the history of the fashion runway show, from the intimate couture salons of the early 20th century to the present day, at London’s Lightroom. The show, which will premiere on 25 October 2024, will utilise fashion magazine Vogue’s archive and contributor network to create an experience that brings together the industry’s leading voices from the past, present, and future.

Through a cycle of thematic chapters, Inventing the Runway will use original animation with immersive sound design and a score fusing original composition with classical and pop music, all of which will evoke the worlds when iconic shows shifted the cultural landscape.

Chanel haute couture show

The pin-sharp projection will be delivered by 14x Panasonic PT-RQ22K 20,000 lumens, 4k resolution, 3-chip DLP projectors, projecting across the walls of the space, with 14x Panasonic PT-RZ12K 12,000 lumens, HD resolution, 3-chip DLP projectors handling the floor.  Meanwhile, immersive sound from HOLOPLOT will deliver crystal clear audio for the voiceovers.

Inventing the Runway will bring visitors inside fashion shows, which began as a way of seeing clothes in motion, but have become global events fusing art, technology and celebrity. With Lightroom’s four-storey walls as the 360-degree canvas, visitors will experience designers’ visions on a huge scale.

Anna Wintour, chief content officer, Condé Nast, and global editorial director, Vogue, said: “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. This Lightroom experience is 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.”

Mark Guiducci, creative editorial director, Vogue, added: “Runway shows have reflected society and its values for more than a century. We hope that Inventing the Runway gives audiences a better understanding of how those shows mirror the changes not only in fashion, but also culture at large – the arts, entertainment, technology, politics, and the ways that they’re all intertwined.”

With first-hand testimony and a rich mixture of media, Inventing the Runway reveals how fashion shows became the ultimate statement of a designer’s vision – at times, a walking expression of their identity – reimagined season after season and year after year. It is a celebration of the imagination, discipline and passion that has revolutionised how we experience fashion.

Houses and designers confirmed include: Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, Balenciaga, Burberry, Chanel, Chloé, Christian Dior, Christopher John Rogers, Comme des Garçons, Coperni, Courrèges, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Elena Velez, Fendi, Givenchy, Gucci, Gypsy Sport, Hood by Air, Hussein Chalayan, Imitation of Christ, Iris Van Herpen, Jacquemus, Jean Paul Gaultier, Junya Watanabe, JW Anderson, Louis Vuitton, Maison Margiela, Marc Jacobs, Martine Rose, Missoni, Miu Miu, Moschino, Patou, Prada, Pyer Moss, Rick Owens, Schiaparelli, Stella McCartney, Thierry Mugler, Thom Browne, Tomo Koizumi, Undercover, Versace, Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood, Willy Chavarria and Yohji Yamamoto.

Chioma Nnadi, head of editorial content for British Vogue, said: “It’s fitting to host this Lightroom experience within skipping distance of Central Saint Martins, where so many of the UK’s fashion students begin their journeys to becoming designers we know and love. I hope that the exhibition can be an educational tool that brings to life the most iconic cultural moments through fashion’s lens, for the next generation of aspiring designers.”

The show will feature Vogue’s extensive archive, dating back to its first publication in 1892, as well as rare materials from noted fashion houses and contributors. Visitors will hear from celebrated personalities in the industry; the editors who witnessed landmark shows, the models who walked them and the designers who created them.

As with its opening collaboration, David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (see Installation’s report here) and current hit show The Moonwalkers: A Journey with Tom Hanks (see Installation’s report here), this new co-production with Vogue aims to push the boundaries of what immersive exhibitions can offer – combining storytelling with spectacle, to create a new form of entertainment for a diverse and growing audience. Inventing the Runway is designed by 59 Productions and directed by Mark Grimmer.

Tickets are from £25 for adults and from £15 for children and students.

Discounted tickets are available for families. Additionally, a £10 schools’ ticket is available and a universal credit recipient offer of £5 per ticket can be booked directly through the ticketing team on [email protected], details of which can also be found on the website.

Since Lightroom opened in 2023, over 500,000 visitors have come to see David Hockney: Bigger & Closer and the current show The Moonwalkers. From 17 June these two shows, both produced in collaboration with 59 Productions, will alternate over the seven days of the week. David Hockney: Bigger & Closer will play Sunday to Tuesday, 10:00-19:00 (last entry). The Moonwalkers: A Journey with Tom Hanks will play Thursday to Saturday, with shows on the hour between 10:00-20:00 (last entry). On Wednesdays, it will be possible to see both shows – with Bigger & Closer showing from 10:00-12:30 (last entry) and The Moonwalkers showing from 14:00-19:00 (last entry).