movement directors, the new profession of fashion weeks

What do Stella McCartney and Maison Margiela have in common, which unveiled their spring-summer 2022 collections on Monday, October 4? In appearance, there is little resemblance between the creations of the eco-responsible diva, who organized a parade at the Espace Niemeyer, and the sophisticated deconstructions of John Galliano, shown on video. The same man however directed the models of the two presentations: the “director of the movement” Pat Boguslawski, 31 years old.

“The day I heard that this job existed, it was like an epiphany: I knew it was made for me”, tells the Polish dancer and ex-model in a café in western Paris. Like him, a handful of professionals emerge in this position. First used for campaigns or photo series, now they are gaining momentum since the pandemic, now credited on videos or parades.

Stella McCartney.

“The job can consist in inventing a choreography, a type of walk, imposing a rhythm that all the models will share”, explains the Italian dancer and choreographer Michele Rizzo, 37, who has played this role since 2020 for Marni, Magliano or Off-White. For the last Marni fashion show, held in Milan on September 26, “I had to distribute in the space more than a hundred participants, models, choristers, fashion students, so that everyone moves in harmony and interacts well with the public”, he explains.

“We have to make sure that the models give the right attitude, the right emotion, souligne Pat Boguslawski. It’s a story of groove. In general, only a few models can walk with a dog. To all the others, we must teach. “ Carrying a head, balancing a hips, holding an arm …

“It’s the latest fad”

For the Edward Crutchley show, applauded in London on September 18, Brieuc Breitenstein says he taught models to go up and down the stairs in platform shoes, indicated when to slow down and accelerate. “It can also mean perfecting a posture. To a model with shoulders too tucked in, I had exercises done so that he unfolded, my hand resting on his chest ”, relates the 28-year-old French dancer. The express mission usually lasts a few hours.

But why does fashion suddenly appeal to these professionals, when until then the catwalks did without them? “It’s the latest fad”, creak some backstage. “Fashion has become entirely filmed. This requires perfect parades so that the images are irreproachable ”, defends Brieuc Breitenstein. Above all, “The times are in fashion which has a social, political purpose: from then on, the body must be involved, express a point of view. Lowering a model to the neutral status of a coat rack is no longer possible. Our work is helping to change that ”, observe Michele Rizzo.

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Pat Bogumil abonde: “Moving with attitude is hard work! Every season the industry is hungry for new faces. Young inexperienced people then disembark who need to have the basics so as not to walk flatly. Seeing people move around normally, we already have the streets for that! “ To his credit, the Pole can cite the Maison Margiela spring-summer 2020 fashion show for which he encouraged Leon Dame to let go. The mannequin, in a belted leather coat and high-heeled boots, had tumbled onto the podium, with determined strides, supple shoulders, sharp eyes. His approach had amused social networks. Makes Anna Wintour laugh. And had immediately established itself as one of the most shared and memorable images of the season.

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