Last week Inside the Industry welcomed two of set design’s biggest stars – Simon Costin and Gary Card. The designers were invited by Fashion Space Gallery’s Director Ligaya Salazar, as part of the events programme accompanying Simon Costin’s Impossible Catwalk Shows.
Simon opened by considering the art of set design and how he started out:
“There’s a thin line between presenting what’s in the collection and overpowering it.”
Simon started out by working with Gareth Pugh, assisting him when he was just out of college. As budgets were tight, Simon would have to come up with simple and effective set designs – one was a piece of material loosely pinned to the floor with a wind machine causing it to billow up. Simon said:
“It was a simple idea that was so effective – we had to teach the models how to ponystep down the catwalk.”
Next the pair got stuck into talking about their mutual passion. Here’s the lowdown:
What do you do on a shoot?
GC: “Stand next to the chaise longue and say it needs to be moved 2mm? I’ve never know what I should do!”
SC: “I generally look busy in the corner and wait to be called over! But really there is no rule book.”
How do you feel about taking down the sets after the event/show?
SC: “It’s very intense – it’s like a butterfly, it glitters for that moment and then it’s gone. I used to hate it at the end of the event – when all of the lights go up – as that’s when the magic goes. It’s all about the moment; it’s ephemeral.”
GC: “I find it very cathartic to throw it in the skip!”
What’s the hardest and most important lesson you’ve learnt from working in the industry?
GC: “Don’t turn up to the job drunk or stinking of booze!”
SC: “Creativity is a huge part of this job but building up client skills is really important. It’s important to recognise when someone might be out of their depth and to be able to manage them well – but this is something that comes over time. You can’t learn it all from a book.”