Research – body in motion (runway shows)


Balenciaga presentation, Paris 1954. © 2002 Mark Shaw
Balenciaga presentation, Paris 1954. © 2002 Mark Shaw

The first fittings for the Charles James toile marked a pivotal moment within the project, it officially moved us from stage one (archival research and dress selection) to stage two (making process). In the research context, it also moved us to the next stage, that is thinking of the garments in relation to the body and movement. When Kitty, our fit model, first walked the Charles James toile across the corridor of the MA Fashion studio, she allowed us to identify not only the flaws in the toile that needed to be addressed, but also the importance of movement in achieving the right effect. Kitty is used to walking the current  runway walk, with fast and strong steps coming from the hips (click on the link below).

Charles James, fitting fast

When asked to walk again slowly, the same toile was transformed – the skirt softened and the dress seemed move in its own way (click on the link below).

Charles James, fitting slow


Thus, it became ever more apparent that in order to further our understanding of each dress, we should also understand not only the bodies within them but also the ways they moved. This understanding will help to inform the animations of the digital visualisations.

To start the ‘body in motion’ research segment, we look at runway shows in the 1940s, 60s, 70s and 80s, as well as Olivier Saillard’s performance Couture Essentielle (2017).


French Fashion Show, 1947. British Pathé (click on the link below)


Fashions, 1948. British Pathé (click on the link below)


1960’s Balenciaga Paris Fashion Show Clip

Cristóbal Balenciaga show. Cristóbal Balenciaga Museos

Cristóbal Balenciaga – Vintage Footage

Comme des Garçons Fall 1983. M2M – Made To Measure

Charles James Fashion Show with Halston 1982 – From the Videofashion Vault. Videofashion

Couture Essentielle, Olivier Saillard, 2017. Numeridanse (click on the link below)

Isabella Coraça

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.