Reinventing the fashion show

Checklist: One large hotel with plenty of windows and 156 rooms,
66 dancers,
44,640 LED bulbs,
original music from Sam Spiegal,
a unique visual program created by Daft Punk’s light designers,
and Target’s autumn fashion collection with outfits from Mossimo, Merona, Converse and Liz Lange.
Combined with the creativity and hours invested by Mother New York and you get something like this – the winner of several accolades including a Cannes outdoor lion in 2011, a D&AD pencil and gold at the One Show; in addition to being the target (forgive the pun) of praise from the communications world. It is fair to say that the “Target Kaleidoscope Fashion Spectacular” lives up to its name.

The show demonstrates all the fun, spectacle and precise execution expected of a fashion show, but showcases this on a more public stage – the Standard‘s flashing and coloured windows visible amongst the New York skyline. I love how Target’s autumn collection is injected with a lot of energy, to the point that fashion and dance combine to form “dashion”, and you just want to shake your stuff. I think there is an “embrace life” concept integral to the whole “spectacular” – pleasure from seeing the entire stunt carried off, and no doubt a huge sense of reward from being involved. Even watching it on youtube, I get a visual sugar-high.

There also is an intriguing and delightful sense of deception and surprise to the event. A little like working out how a magician managed to trick you, with the fashion spectacular you just want to know “how”. 

How the dancers knew when to dance at just the right point, even when they are in separate rooms? 

How the lighting animation was achieved so flawlessly? 

And how indeed is a show like this rehearsed? 

It is enough to make Sherlock Holmes himself scratch his head. However, I think that this questioning is part of the fun – a logistical nightmare that you want to put out of your head, and watch wide-eyed what is going on instead.

The show took place on 18th August 2011 and utilised all 18 storeys of the Standard to show the brand, while providing a 20-minute light, sound and dance spectacle for the thousands of spectators on the streets below. Ultimately, it is this combination of audience engagement and a showcase of the brand, which I think a lot could be learnt from. To paraphrase Oliver Twist – “please sir, I want more!”

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