Culture / Society

How dance choreographers became an indispensable part of your favourite fashion shows

By Sebastian Cabrices

Photo: Mugler

Rihanna's Fenty x Savage shows have helped raise the bar for runway spectaculars, and as designer labels face continual pressure to conjure up new ways to vie for our attention, figures from the dance realm are being pulled into the world of fashion like never before

Fashion’s fixation with capturing movement is undeniable. The industry is always attempting – through fabrics – to freeze motion as perhaps only photography can. But the obsession is mutual, as there is also a certain fashion in movement. It, too, goes in and out of style. Movement can embody the zeitgeist of an era, and the runway is where movement in relation to time becomes tangible: it seems that every decade has had its signature way of sending models down the catwalk.


From the 1920s to the 1960s, movement in models appeared reduced to a mannequin-like, static pace that sought to imitate the ordinary – until the 1970s showed the first signs of character. The supermodels brought theatrical expression and individualism in the 1990s; these autonomous and aspirational figures let the public see the person underneath the garments.