LFW | Set Design that got us Inspired

By Sarah Bean

three models in similar floral dresses stood amongst tall grass with sunglasses on

With London Fashion Week wrapping up last week, and the news about the great Karl Lagerfeld, London was a storm of emotion – some would say riot even – given the overriding theme of politics (see Vivienne Westwood’s activist’s catwalk for instance).


Design isn’t one dimensional, so inspiration shouldn’t be either. The PENSON team get out to shows, galleries, exhibitions, theatre performances, gigs, parties – to get our creative juices flowing. Design is about facilitating living life to the fullest, after all.


At LFW we poured ourselves over the clothes, street styles, couture, accessories, hair and makeup design – essentially a great big fashion-shaped theatre production set against some fantastical backdrops. To us, the key is where and how the designers presented the clothes – the atmosphere is just as important as any new collection.


Here, we select the set designs that made it on to our radar:

1. Burberry

Burberry had a message in their AW19 collection which was supported by their unconventional urban playground full of scaffolding, wire fencing and concrete pathways. The weaving and winding of the catwalk suggested treading your own path in the current political climate, while the youth were at the back, climbing and observing from the fence. Tradition and modernity clashed together which we think is always a good thing. The simple scaffolding was an industrial backdrop but demonstrated that the building blocks for the future will always be around. All that from a set, you say?…Spaces must always have meaning, otherwise, what’s the point…?

2. Izzue

A reminder that interior branding, art and statements can come together as one unifying piece. It’s a fine line to tread but a key one; amongst the obscure and the graphic background comes the clarity that is the brand.

3. Charlotte Knowles

With support from Fashion East, Charlotte Knowles’s third show was as real as it gets. The emergency services were the backdrop to a brightly coloured collection. It’s external vs internal. We think it looks pretty cool, and hey, why not showcase the absurd? It makes you stand out.

4. Christopher Kane

It’s as simple as the space representing its people. Perspex elements of the collection played out against the blue perspex backdrop. Small connections between the people and the space are key to making a bigger message.

5. JW Anderson

Spirit, atmosphere, community, collective ideas, the crowd = a winning backdrop. It’s a sea of colour. This set reminded us of an auditorium-like structure where people can meet and have a good chat – whether at work or in any public space. From experience, it really shows off your values and creative spirit.

6. Roksanda

Collaborating with artist Troika, Roksanda screened off sections of the catwalk with bright, almost lumo film hung in angular vertical shapes. Not only an artistic feature, it’s a transparent way of broadening the scope of a space.

7. Fyodor Golan

We’re never disappointed with Fyodor Golan (we reported on the duo’s AW18 set design – see that here) is there no end to the brand’s imaginative set design? This year involved an installation that simply stated reusing and repurposing materials is beautiful.

8. Richard Quinn

The power pose of set design – Richard Quinn wins again – flowers, chandeliers, a glossy black piano and Freya Ridings singing live. The set was harking back to the classic catwalk ‘presentations’ of yesteryear, yet stuff like this never fails on maximum impact.

9. Shrimps

Shrimps took it down the classical path. Think Greek myths, goddesses  – soft coats, feminine space and blended hues. Just like the Greek myths telling stories of humanity, culture and creative life, this space tells its own celebratory story of all things female, primarily thanks the goddesses gracing the celestial backdrop. The backdrop was painted by the artist Ryan Driscoll and we think it looks great. Your own space should be equally as personal.