>> In the past two years or so, it has felt less and less insider-y to drop names such as Simon Costin or Bureau Betak into written context, when discussing shows, editorials and campaigns. No longer are set designers and production companies strictly for hush hush fashion industry convos, but instead they have become part of the behind-the-scenes-movement in fashion that an increasing number of fashion consumers and enthusiasts wish to partake int. Set designers and production companies themselves have also pushed themselves to the forefront of this reveal-all dialogue, by starting their own internal blogs (special commendation for Bureau Betak's blogging efforts), having internal PRs who seed out information about their latest work to relevant press such as It's Nice That and willing participation in features like, The Business of Fashion's Creative Class series.
Beyond being physically on set at fashion shoots and at the show though, perhaps the real power and depth of set designers and production companies' work can't be truly felt. Better then that consumers get to engage with set designer greats through store windows and installations and right now, two set design greats have been let loose on the town. For those of you who are fans of Tim Walker's work, you will no doubt know his set design favoured collaborator Shona Heath. J. Crew seems to be building up the anticipation for their first flagship store in the UK, with a pop-up in Central Saint Martins campus in Kings Cross and now they have employed Heath's mad skills to create a 3D installation of a fleet of London taxis throttling their way alongside 165 Regent Street. They're not your normal London black cabs though. They come adorned with rococo swirls and are painted in delicious Fragonard colours. Suspended on the second storey of this large store front, it's certainly a spectacular distracting interlude whilst J. crew get their store ready in time for the official opening on 1st November.
A ten minute walk away, Robert Storey, who assisted Heath prior to going it alone and is now a brilliant set designer in his own right, has taken over the open atrium space in the Opening Ceremony store in Covent Garden. 'Folded Reflections Suspended' is a continuation of a series called 'Explorations of Space' which began at the Patternity Super Stripe exhibition. "I wanted to create an installation for Opening Ceremony, that would sit harmoniously inside the store whilst also attracting shoppers' attention," says Storey. "I hoped to create something which could reflect my style and also emphasise the playful charm in the brand's identity." Colours inspired by artists such as Josef Albers and Donald Judd now grace his rotating plywood sculptures, catching your eye as you peek through the windows into a curious space inside the store.