Behind the Scenes: IN(Visible) Barriers SS21

Applying the method to the madness is an apt phrase to describe the multiple strings that are neatly pulled together to produce a fashion show. From an observational point of view, seated front row watching each look come to life through the model's strides, it's easy to forget how many components go into the final product, and how many people are required to give structure to what is an otherwise chaotic process.

A trip behind the scenes pulls back the curtain and lays the pieces bare, highlighting the individuals and processes that turn models wearing a collection into a collective art piece.

Setting the stage - both figuratively and literally - begins with production and set design, key components required to bring any dreamscape to life. Our world - "(In)visible Barriers" - took inspiration from the monumental works of the late Christo & Jean-Claude, referencing their detailed eye for creating unique structural worlds. Worlds that existed within reality, but with grandeur seemingly pulled from beyond. Realised by the creative minds at PLAYLAB INC, the set examined our mental and emotional connections to the places that give them comfort, places that are now surrounded by an invisible barrier. Complete as a world between worlds, these barriers were a reflection of a yearning to connect and reconnect with a pre-COVID world. A team renowned for their work on the Louis Vuitton SS21 show, PLAYLAB's structural effort set the foundational layers of the show, transforming the iconic Ritz Paris courtyard to an elegant frame for the canvas.

"...places that are now surrounded by an invisible barrier."

Filling the canvas is a process complete with several moving parts across an extended period. The initial steps saw Contact seek fresh talent from within Paris, providing a unique cast of models that humanised the stories and emotions that inspired the collection, and gave the clothing life. With the cast complete, each of the strings was pulled together to the core, with Montique & Co's production expertise aligning each of the pieces. The key to any production is preparation, which is where the production team shined. Each arrival backstage was signed in, completed a COVID safety form, and took a temperature check before taking their places in hair and makeup.

As the picture came together, the final details were applied to each of the models. Bleach London took the lead in providing complimentary, boldly coloured hair - bleached tips, vibrant red, and pastel green - building a beautiful symmetry to the collection's palette, and styled artistically by Chiao Chanet. Next, the faces were dressed with dark, bold, heavy contrasting makeup by MUA Helene Vasnier, fulfilling the otherworldly aesthetic offered by the set design. The final component in colouring the canvas was Claire Thomson's styling of the models, creating looks that blended each of the creative team's artistic contributions for a perfect fit. With each model dressed, each piece of the puzzle fell into place and completed the vision.

With guests filtering in beyond the fine gauze that separated them from the just-beyond-touch world that the models inhabited, the scene was set, and the Reuben Selby 2020 collection came to life.

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