Veering away from the glare often accustomed to “front of house” offerings – the rich and famous front rows, manicured models on catwalks, and of course the sheen now surrounding streetstyle – fashion has now turned its eye towards set design. It’s the industrial antithesis to the over edited, photoshopped, and undoubtedly over-reported “peacocking” of the footpath, which was also once seen as niche and interesting. Set design, albeit the ones that are garnering attention, has seemingly become synonymous with a sense of tailored surrealism, not so much theatrical, but measured installations that entice the viewer's eye.
London based set designer, Robert Storey, is one such artist whose windows and installations, as well as runway and editorial set designs, have catapulted his “behind the scenes” work into the camera lens.
Trained at Central Saint Martins in Fine Art and Sculpture, his work has seen him become a permanent fixture within the international fashion industry. With his clients including Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Pollini, Victoria Beckham, Jaeger, Harvey Nichols and Topshop. As well as being commissioned for publications by British Vogue, i-D, AnOther magazine, US Harpers, Nowness, Pop and V MAN (just to name drop a few–oh yeah there’s more, including photography collaborations, and he is only 26!).
Whether creating rainbow striped shoe plinths for Nicholas Kirkwood or angular props for filmmaker Quentin Jones, Storey's work is defined by geometric precision. His architectural aesthetic combines bold shapes, modernist lines and kaleidoscopic colour. From the high fashion to the more obscure, Storey always places his stamp of balance between angular lines, colour and product placement, on all his projects.
The set is never simple and thus the finished product is anything but basic. His anti-categorical approach prevents even the most mundane of objects being tarnished by the mediocre as he enlists his artistic talents to construct, mould, transform, and improvise materials into variables that become pieces in his works puzzle. Every abstract line or object is meant to be there, and Storey’s sculptural background is certainly to thank for this keen eye for placement and balance.
With the current fixation on the behind the scenes, all eyes are turning to practices like Storey’s designs, but let's hope the camera lens won’t change his work like it did those editors who used to be clad in black.
Words / Jamie-Maree Shipton