Dior Homme is a big brand. And when a big brand has the backing of an even bigger luxury fashion conglomerate (that would be Bernard Arnault’s LVMH), it can do, well, big things. At Dior Homme, that includes everything from staging pre-fall collection runway shows in Tokyo to collaborating with legends like Larry Clark, and enlisting the likes of Robert Pattinson and Rami Malek to sell their wares. And nowhere is this commitment to going big or going home more apparent than the house’s menswear shows. Dior artistic director Kris Van Assche has summoned a carnival roller coaster track, a gothic skate park, and an entire string section as backdrops for his collections in recent years.
Of course, a big and impressive set doesn’t just happen overnight—although the timing isn’t much longer than that. Planning may start up to six months out, but turning plans into reality often doesn’t start until a day or two before a show—and can go up until minutes before guests arrive). And it comes down immediately after. It’s a lot of work that lives for only a brief amount of time (the average men’s fashion show is about ten minutes). But make no mistake, these environments are as important to a show as the clothes on the runway; the right set enhances what you see.
For Spring 2018, Van Assche turned to the talents of the ateliers at Dior for inspiration, and the iconography associated with them (the 3, Rue de Marignan address, the house’s black ribbons). That, paired with a sense of innocence and what Van Assche called a “midsummer mood” gave way to the show’s simple, but elaborately conceived set: black glossy strips that call to mind the collection’s ribbon-heavy touches and grass. That would be real grass, the kind of turf reserved for fancy front yards and football fields. Over three days and two nights, a crew of 80 installed over 3,000 feet of hanging strips and almost 13,000 square feet of turf, turning a top floor salon in the iconic Grand Palais into pristine stretch of outdoorsy space you’re more likely to see in a public part than, well, anywhere indoors. To capture just how the magic happens, we sent photographer Karl Hab to capture the tedious process first hand, before and during the Dior Homme Spring / Summer 2018 runway show.