A runway is a place where models walk back and forth in order to showcase products that they are modeling. For instance, a runway can be the place where models showcase clothes or accessories. It is also known as a catwalk. While there are exceptions, runways are generally narrow, elevated platforms. To impress upon an audience the greatest “wow” factor, the platform is elevated so that the audience has a better view of the fashions. In this case, the audience is literally and possibly figuratively “looking up” to the models.
For many designers, a runway show that displays their fashions is not simply about marketing, it’s also about art. Some shows are so well-planned spectacles, and the runways are the stage for a performance. The late fashion designer Alexander McQueen was brilliant when it came to putting together exciting runway shows. A photograph from the McQueen Spring 2010 show is below:
Over the years, runway shows have become more like performance art. If you look around, there's lighting, set design, music and often times a plot or narrative that accompanies models presenting various sartorial collections. In plenty of ways runway shows challenge audience members to be more imaginative by stretching their imaginations regarding not only what is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, but also what is acceptable to be worn in society.
Is fashion a reflection of societal norms and attitudes?
Our deepest desires or something else entirely?
Modern fashion shows clearly are part and parcel in many ways with fine art shows. To varying extents there is the element of surprise- the audience has in idea as to what will be shown based on their fashion knowledge, but they don't exactly know what they will see. It's this anticipation that brings out the dynamic energy that is commonplace at runway shows . The most famous international cities to host runway shows are Milan, Paris, New York and Tokyo. It should be no surprise and even not a coincidence that each city is a beacon of artistic expression and cultural diversity that is consistent with the imaginitive worlds conjured during runway shows.
Example of one of the most watched fashion shows by Victoria's Secret: