New York Fashion Week 2019 was all about lighting: The Top 6 Illuminated Runways and Moments

Theatrical inspired lighting: Savage X Fenty by Rihanna
Theatrical inspired lighting: Savage X Fenty by Rihanna

New York fashion week is over, models throughout the world can let out a collective sigh of relief, and sit back to enjoy a brief moment of accomplishment—and maybe just one secret spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s. Despite the fact that during runway shows the viewers’ focus is on clothing and models, most attendees have no understanding of the most crucial aspect of a fashion show–lighting. Illumination will make or break a show and plays an integral role in the success of any fashion event. The careful balance of LED spotlights and floods gives the runway its outstanding appeal—transforming it from a mere ramp into the platform that launches next season’s trends. Light is intrinsically connected to all other details of the runway. LED lights direct an audience’s gaze to complexity in skin tone, highlights the models, provides atmosphere, aids in photography—and of course—focuses attention on the outfits.

So, what is the best lighting fixture for fashion shows? The answer is, an ellipsoidal reflector spotlight.

Powerful lighting instruments, commonly used for theater and stage, collect light and direct a radiant beam that can be adjusted to match whatever size subject you wish to illuminate. Some ellipsoidal fixtures are DMX controlled and come with gel and GOBO holders that change the color and shape of the beam. A fashion show, for instance, would require warm white lighting that reveals the natural colors in the outfits.



Let’s dive into the genius lighting and best runway looks we all enjoyed during the remarkable New York Fashion Week 2019.

1. Theatrical inspired lighting: Savage X Fenty by Rihanna


The focus of the Savage X Fenty lingerie fashion show concentrated on women of all sizes and complexion. Theatrical lights were used to exhibit the comfort and beauty in each size. “Women should wear lingerie for their damn selves” —Rihanna. Stay tuned, this fantastic light show is set to be broadcast by Amazon Prime Video at the end of September.



2. Tom Ford, inspired by Andy Warhol, goes underground and purple


Tom Ford brought elegance, sophistication ,and an underground atmosphere inspired by the Pop Art icon, Andy Warhol, a leading figure in the visual art movement. At his show, he used purple LED color blasts that were adjusted to play with the color and choose a perfect shade of indigo light.

3. Ralph Lauren creates his own New York club in Art Deco style


Re-creating a Jazz-era nightclub in lower Manhattan, the designer opened “Ralph's Club” for the night. He created a one-of-a kind dining experience complete with Art Deco chandeliers and ambient lighting that made spectators gape in wonder. Elegant fixtures illuminated the room’s monochrome trimmings—sleek leather banquets, lacquered black floors—all while a terrific jazz band provided ambiance as guests arrived.


4. Area shines in gold and brings extravagant trends in fashion


Area went all-out-glowing-extravaganza to highlight its shining models. Crystal dividers and gold curtains surrounded a stage that matched the gold apparel collection. Area’s runway was, without question, about sparkling, twinkling, and gold!


5. Marc Jacobs: Floating in the dark runway is all about CRI


Marc Jacobs made a statement by scaling back the bright clutter inherent with runway shows to focus on what is really important - fashion. A simply genius monochromatic stage setting was achieved using high-quality CRI lighting to make outfits stand out and highlight the details in his new fall fashion line.


6. Tommy Hilfiger goes retro with halogen lights


Tommy Hilfiger recreated a retro-scene atmosphere at his runway during New York Fashion Week 2019. Not only with his outfits, but also in the surroundings. Fashion’s love affair with the disco decade was resurrected at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. To inspire high-energy and that feeling of the 70’s, he brought in halogen lights which were popular long before LEDs became available to the public.


Lighting undeniably plays an important role in marking the success of a runway show, still it remains one of the most underappreciated. It binds the entire ramp act together and expresses the emotions of the designer. If you’re looking for professional lighting, please contact us info@clumen.com.