Magazines might talk about the FROW and endlessly stream fashion week coverage from across the style capitals of the world, but how many of us actually have the opportunity to experience the catwalk shows for ourselves first-hand? Now, The Fashion Set – a new book by  Federico Poletti and Georgia Cantarini (with forewords by sartorial experts Colin McDowell and Diane Pernet) – gives us a chance to take in some of recent years’ most spectacular runways.

the fashion set

The curated selection of fashion’s greatest moments and most show-stopping sets takes in shows from Chanel’s incredible OTT runways at the Grand Palais in Paris to game-changing catwalk experiences masterminded by iconic style revolutionaries like Alexander McQueen. The Fashion Set celebrates the glamorous magic and theatrical elegance of the catwalk show – and it’s a must-read for fashion fans and design devotees alike. We’re delighted to share an exclusive preview of five of the book’s most magnificent shows for you here…

Antonio Marras – Autumn/Winter 2015

This Antonio Marras show was dedicated to the life of Tina Modotti – an Italian emigrant photographer and anti-fascist militant in the international communist movement who was exiled and persecuted for her work. The setting catapulted the viewer into another era – rural Mexico during the turbulent 1920s. Bathed in a soft light, the models sat on rocks behind a thin fabric, as if they were painted on the canvas itself. The show’s concept was developed by Paolo Bazzani, founder of Paolo Bazzani Studio, which focuses on graphic art projects and art direction for the fashion industry.

Antonio Marras AW 2015

antonio marras

Fendi – Autumn/Winter 2007

This staggering achievement, designed by YO Fashion & Luxury Events, was a watershed moment in fashion set production. Working with Karl Lagerfeld, the team created a truly unique catwalk on a stretch of the ancient Great Wall of China, on which eighty-eight models walked against the backdrop of the stunning Guangou Valley. Lagerfeld said he wanted to bring the West to the East, and so he played with the sacred symbol of the circle to express harmony between these two very different cultures. At an estimated cost of $10 million, and a year in the making, it was certainly a strong statement as to the emerging importance of China for the luxury goods and fashion industries.

fendi autumn winter 2007


Chanel – Autumn/Winter 2014

As if overnight, a vast Pop Art supermarket sprang up in the Grand Palais, saturated with a very different kind of Chanel merchandise. The shelves groaned under the weight of everyday and decidedly unglamorous products, specially packaged in bright colours and emblazoned with the Chanel logo: breakfast cereals, doormats, black cotton buds, a chainsaw with a real Chanel chain. In the end, the set was a scene of both celebration and satire. Upon the store’s ‘closing’, spectators were invited to help themselves to the fresh produce, whereupon a swarm of well-heeled looters descended, each grasping for their own piece of the Chanel supermarché.

chanel autumn winter 2014

Chanel AW 2014

Tommy Hilfiger – Autumn/Winter 2012

In this show, designed by OBO’s René Célestin and Susan Schroeder, Tommy Hilfiger brought town and country together, as the audience walked through a grand gate to find themselves in a quintessential city park, with those in the front row sitting on real park benches surrounded by trees and ivy. The designer stated that the collection was designed for a girl ‘as much at ease at the hunt club as she is on Park Avenue’, and its nods to the 1960s were enhanced by a relaxing soundtrack of Simon & Garfunkel.

tommy hilfiger autumn winter 2012

Tommy Hilfiger aw 2012

Moncler – Spring/Summer 2016

The historic Palazzo del Senato was transformed into a life-sized boxing arena under the direction of designer Thom Browne and producer Etienne Russo. Four boxers and an adjudicator entered the ring and glared imposingly down as male and female models wearing red, white and black paraded in front of the crowd. The collection pulled inspiration from the world of boxing, with hooded robes, glove stitching and padded blazers all featuring. The sportswear-inspired clothing was combined with traditional tailoring to create a blend of functional and athletic pieces.

Moncler Spring Summer 2016

moncler ss16

From Roads Publishing, The Fashion Set by Federico Poletti and Georgia Cantarini is available to buy online here.