Nick Gray of London, UK based creative visual design practice Renegade energised his specialist skills to produce a radiant lighting design for the high profile Kansai Yamamoto ‘Fashion In Motion’ shows at London’s famous Victoria & Albert Museum.
Gray is among the UK’s best known fashion lighting designers. His work includes lighting the British Fashion Council’s main spaces at London Fashion Week and London Collections – men (LCM) as well as regular shows for some of the coolest fashion creatives on the block including L’Wren Scott, Roksanda and others.
When show producers Bacchus asked him to light the Kansai Yamomoto show in the V&A’s Raphael Gallery, he jumped at the chance to add some lighting magic to the Japanese style icon’s presentation, which explored his ground-breaking 40 year career including the flamboyant futuristic stage costumes for David Bowie at the height of his Ziggy Stardust phase.
Yamamoto recently starred in Dazed Digital : “After my shows, people are happy … and that’s my dream. I try to create something that conveys more than clothes” *
“It was an amazing experience to be part of this show,” Gray enthuses, “In fact, it was more of a performance than a show, combining drama, vivid expression, incredible colour and detail together with some very strong and intense statements in the clothes.”
“My task was to create a lit environment which helped all those elements to be communicated to the audiences”.
Gray has worked in the Raphael Gallery before, which certainly helped in planning how it was practical to light this event, but the main challenge was the serious time pressure for the get-in and tech.
The get-in and rigging had to be completed between 6 p.m. and midnight the night before. Gray and his crew were then back in at 7 a.m. with just two hours in which to fine-focus and programme the lighting cues – of which there were around 50 - before rigorous rehearsals started for four shows running throughout the day.
Bacchus designed the set, featuring a completely white surround and stage with some four-faceted plasma screen cubes mid-way along the runway introducing a hint of futurism in keeping with Yamamoto’s distinctive oeuvre.
Gray’s team installed two ground support systems to provide lighting positions. The one at the far end of the room straddled between the stage and backstage areas and all the lamps were top rigged, poking out over the set and down the runway. At the other end, a 5.5 metre box was erected above the media platform, complete with cross sectional trusses flown on individual motors, so the heights could be staggered for the front array.
There was no time to programme moving lights, so Gray specified all generics – 46 x ETC Source Four profiles with assorted lenses and one bar of six chrome PAR 64s fitted with CP 88 bulbs - operated by Chris Steel using Renegade’s Hog 4 console.
The lights were tungsten corrected to give a warm and slightly soft radiant white that worked perfectly with the lively, dynamic line up of costumes which included some of Kansai’s classics.