Robe Debuts at London Fashion Week SS14

Robe’s ROBIN MMX WashBeam moving lights were used for the first time at a London Fashion Week show by the UK’s leading fashion lighting designer Nick Gray of  creative practice Renegade.

Gray lit two high profile off-site shows - Jasper Conran at the Saatchi Gallery  and Roksanda at The Place, London Bridge - for London Fashion Week SS14 last week using MMX WashBeams.

It was the first time Gray has used Robe moving lights in his fashion work – he is also the LD for rockers Kasabian, comedian Eddie Izzard and is an internationally exhibited video and light artist.

Gray has been wanting to incorporate moving lights on his fashion projects for some time, but feels that the appropriate fixtures have only recently become available.

He comments, “I have been keeping my eye on Robe for a while as they are now bringing some really interesting products to the market. For both these shows, the clients wanted some drama and variation in the lighting intensities, so it was an ideal time to try the WashBeams, especially as the final effect we wanted was also as close to HMI as possible … but with added control and features”.

The 30 MMX WashBeams were supplied to Renegade by RML & Event Concept.

Jasper Conran at the Saatchi Gallery

The main challenge here was balancing the additional lighting needed to brighten the environment for the show with the gallery’s in-house banks of Makrolon covered celling fluorescents. These are normally used to light the artworks on display.

After an in-depth product demo at Robe UK and an onsite demo for the client, Gray made the bold move to light the Jasper Conran show using just 20 x MMX WashBeam fixtures.

They provided the perfect solution for balancing with the fluorescents and lit the striking looking space - complete with monochrome retro backdrop and intricately patterned matching runway - beautifully.

Eight MMX WashBeams were rigged in the front array position and the other four down at the far end of the main room, two per side on stands close to the gallery roof, with the remaining units rigged in a secondary gallery used by guests.

Gray – and lighting operator Paul Kell (PK) - both liked the small size of the MMX WashBeam – which was ideal for this space and also easy to rig which pleased the crew!

They also liked the good range of colour temperature whites, the general brightness of the fixture, uniformity of output, the framing shutters and the DMX controllable hot spot control.

The hot spot control  was used extensively to ensure an even coverage of light across the runway.

“It’s the first fixture to tick all these boxes needed for catwalk show lighting with a bit of an edge,” commented Gray after the show.

Roksanda at The Place, London Bridge

The Roksanda show exuded the vibrant elegance of highly talented Serbian designer Roksanda Ilinčić and was staged in an empty office space on the 14th floor of The Place, a large business development in the London Bridge Quarter with fantastic views across the Thames and of London’s CBD.

Shot through with large RSJs and other heavy structural elements, with a low ceiling, a concrete floor and floor-to-ceiling windows all along one side, Gray sought to add some warmth to the industrial starkness of the “Hugely challenging room that was really demanding to light appropriately!”

Thirty MMX WashBeams were rigged on scaffolding along one side of the runway – with the windows on the other side.

The weather was unpredictable right up to the last minute as the sun came in and out and the cloud cover varied, and as it did so … Gray was tweaking the lighting right up until the moment the first model hit the catwalk – adding plenty of nail-biting technical drama to the process!

He settled on a colour temperature of around 5000 Kelvin, so slightly warmer than daylight to take the edge off the models and the clothes, so they naturally effervesced whilst coming down the runway.

The costumes pitched cheeky, bright near fluorescent oranges and yellows with moody blacks and dark grays, all of which needed to be gorgeously lit.

Gray comments, “With a show like this and its unusual highly organic environmental parameters, the flexibility of the MMXs was really helpful”. He adds that with so many features and functions to explore on the units, he is looking forward to having a bit more time to spend experimenting!

“For a first time – and under such pressure – they were absolutely brilliant. I really enjoyed using them and I will definitely be doing so again!” he concluded.

Photos: Louise Stickland