Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) is the fore-most fashion event in the Indian sub-continent. The Pro-stylist Lounge is a pop-up at the LFW which encourages the visitors to engage in an one-on-one interaction with the professional stylists. The visitors also get to interact with a whole range of make-up products and are introduced to the latest collections. Backstage is an important element in the fashion construct. It prepares one to take-on the runway. At another level, it is a social space where specialists from all walks of the profession meet and share stories, tips and tittle-tattle.
The essence of the design was to re-create the backstage experience. The approach to recreating the backstage experience was rather simple. The stylists and the products they employed were the highlights in space. Nooks were carved out for allowing meaningful conversations around style transformations. These conversations formed the raison d’être for the lounge. At first pro stylist work-booths were designed, addressing technical specifications for lighting, assist shelves for products, holders for equipment etc. The booths were lined-up in a row and placed towards the end of the lounge. A bulk of the action happened at these work-booths, which were elevated. This made the pro-stylist action visible from all parts of the lounge. Real-time feed from the fashion show was played in the booth.
From the work-booth a long table, called centre-stage originated. Formal product display tends to become intimidating. Therefore the products were tastefully splattered on the centre-stage. The product display was kept informal and incidental, so as to encourage visitors to explore them and talk about them. The centre-stage metaphorically links to the ramp in a fashion show. Steel trusses on top carried spot-lights which lit the area dramatically. Alcoves abutting the centre stage on either side were planned. One of these contained the media centre, where interviews and media events could be held. The other contained a high energy nail-bar where nail artist showcased their art.
Each season, brand Lakme teams up with a celebrated designer from the world of fashion to curate a limited collection. The collection along with a look-book is launched at the Fashion Week. Four images from the look-book were placed at strategic corners of the lounge at a larger than life scale. While the lounge was predominantly black, the images were back-lit. The contrast ensured visibility and focus. Specially designed pods showcased the look-book for the season.
The entry to the lounge was kept rather large, making the action visible from various parts of the fashion week venue. The large opening also eased entry and exit for the large number of walk-ins. The facade comprised of two surfaces, one in black acrylic and the other in mirror, meeting at an obtuse angle. The geometry created an illusion of space. The mirror framed the visitors in the outside lobby, providing a ‘selfie’ opportunity for the aspiring fashionistas.
The lounge was used at the fall-winter 2013 and spring-summer 2014. Events at the lounge included an exclusive interview with the designers about their latest collection, and related media events. With over 10000 people stepping into the lounge through the span of the event, the lounge was the most buzzing area at the LFW.
Figments.inc is an experience-design studio, based out of Pune, India. The studio is a multidisciplinary entity which focusses on building integrated experiences in transactional spaces.