NEW YORK – Sleek …dazzling… brilliantly colored; all aptly describe the exquisite designs on display at the 67th annual Parsons Benefit fundraiser-fashion show that took place at the River Pavilion at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center. These terms applied equally well to the multi-faceted lightshow that energized the runway during this prestigious event, thanks in no small measure to a collection of CHAUVET Professional Next NXT-1 panels provided by WorldStage.
Lighting Designer Shawn Kaufman of CS Lighting arranged 44 of the moving LED panels on the sides of the runway to heighten the visual impact of the fashion show and benefit dinner, which raises money to support scholarships at the New School. The New School has served as an incubator for many famous fashion designers at the start of their careers. The New York-based LD used the intensely bright moving fixtures to accent the models on stage, change looks to fit the varied moods of the show and create aerial effects that dazzled the audience, which included A-list fashionistas like Donna Karan, Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy among its 900 members.
“After having worked on this event last year, we jumped at the chance to work on this event in such a grand space,” said Kaufman. “Nick Ponton from Shades of Grey, the producer on the event, gave us creative freedom to evolve the lighting throughout the show and dinner. We had a limited amount of time to put something like this together, but it was a fun challenge. Associate designer Renee Molina, our programmer Shawn Hodle and our production electrician Valentina Migoulia really came through. The NXT-1s elevated this show to a crisp, modern production, worthy of any runway in New York.”
Positioned with 22 units per side, the NXT-1 panels served as color accents during the show and dinner. They were also used as points of interest for the audience and to highlight the distinctive and dynamic architecture of the venue.
“We used the panels to follow the models as they walked along the runway, create direction and movement that matched the tempo of the music, and enhance the images that were being seen in person and on screen,” said Kaufman. “Our client wanted something that had a direct impact on the look and feel of the event and engaged the audience. The NXT-1s allowed us to deliver.”
Serving as a showcase for young fashion talent, the Parsons Benefit features creations by a number of design students. This year’s version of the event included works by 39 aspiring designers. The different looks Kaufman was able to create with the Next NXT-1 allowed him to achieve a visual separation between works of different designers.
“The Next NXT-1 allowed us to come up with a wide variety of looks,” said Kaufman. “There were times when we had the panels stationary, then we’d do a slow pan or tilt effect, which was enough to totally change the visual impression. The built-in effects of the NXT-1 also gave us options to create a wide assortment of different feelings on the runway, ensuring that each student’s designs were shown in a fresh, creative setting.”
In addition to displaying graphical images on the face of each instrument, the NXT-1 panels were used to display text during the fashion show and fundraiser. Kaufman controlled the panels with a grandMA2 console, running in 23-channel mode.
“We talked about pixel mapping for this show, but will save that for another event we have coming up. We are very excited about trying out pixel mapping on the panels in full channel mode at future events,” said Kaufman. “But the range of looks from preprogramming the Chauvet panels was amazing.
“There were time constraints in this project that we had to contend with, given the nature of the venue, as well as space constraints on the runway, given that we could not build the lights into the stage,” continued the LD. “The NXT-1 units helped us in these respects too. They have a low profile, so we were able to put them alongside the runway without being obtrusive. The point was that the fixtures were visible but not our main focus, as this was a fashion show. The minimal power consumption allowed us to use local connections, which reduced our cable runs and setup time.”
What really stood out about the Next NXT-1 panels, though, as far as Kaufman is concerned was their speed, in more ways than one. “The panels gave us the looks we needed, and quickly, due to their low rotating mass and quick response time.” said the LD. “At the end of the day they took an exciting event and made it magical.”