PARIS – Alexandre de Betak has done everyone in the fashion industry, from Hussein Chalayan to Sies Marjan. And by 'done' we mean he designed their catwalks. For more than one Christian Dior défilé, Bureau Betak used bushels and bushels of flowers. This January, however, to showcase the House of Dior's S/S 2016 couture collection, the team opted for 1,500-sq-m of mirror panels, each made from a light, highly reflective, technically specified film stretched over an aluminium frame.
Planted in the garden of Paris's recently renovated Musée Rodin, the exterior of the circular looking-glass pavilion was dressed in 12-m-high pleated panels that reflected the museum's aristocratic rear façade, the colourful arrival of guests and the shifting skies above. Inside, images of wooden floors appeared in both mirrored ceiling and walls: 40 mirrors were arranged around the perimeter and 15 placed in the centre of the room in sets of two, three or four panels, depending on the desired shape.
Forming two concentric pleated rings with all the mysterious beauty of a funhouse forest, accordions of mirrors strategically placed among the spectators' cobalt benches did nothing to impede the circulation of models moving through the space. The angles of these folds were determined by their ability to reflect one another while generating a kaleidoscopic effect as the models walked, abstracting everything around them into, one might say, melting bouquets of bright blue flowers.
Photos Nicolas Du Pasquier, courtesy of Bureau Betak