Life’s a beach, especially during New York City Fashion Week 2010 when award-winning designer Scott Sternberg unveiled his Band of Outsiders and women’s Boy by Band of Outsiders spring and summer collections on a Malibu-inspired set with production support by Tinc Design & Productions.
Tinc furnished lighting, rigging, hair and makeup services for the show, which reunited Tinc production manager Ryan Kirk with lighting designer Seth Bernstein. They previously partnered on the Band of Outsiders fall collection presented during Fashion Week last March.
For this latest show, Scott Sternberg says he was inspired by Malibu circa 1978, The Silent World of Jacques Cousteau and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s “Pacific Ocean Blue” solo album. To realize his beach-themed vision the loft gallery at Milk Studios, a complex of photographic studios and gallery space in the Meatpacking District, was dressed with beach and wave murals, five tons of sand covered the concrete floor, and radio-controlled toy boats floated on an oversized puddle.
Instead of taking a typical runway approach, the Band of Outsiders show, cosponsored by Milk Studios and MAC cosmetics, opted for a presentation-style format. The models were present on the set when the doors opened and remained there for the 90-minute fashion showcase during which editors viewed the collection and photographers snapped pictures.
“The beach set gave a really unique feel to the fashion show,” reports Ryan Kirk. “It was more fun than almost any other show I’ve worked on. And it was great to have the opportunity to work with Seth again.”
“The first year I moved to New York I was an electrician at Milk,” recalls Seth Bernstein. “It was great to be back as a designer. I knew Tinc would make me look good.”
Bernstein approached the presentation-style show like a photo shoot designing lighting that created contrast and appealed to cameras by illuminating set pieces and implementing a more sculptural light on the models.
According to him, “the big challenge was getting all the thematic influences to have a physical presence in the space. Using projection for the beach set was not feasible based on the space so the scenic designer Jared Lawton and I considered shooting and printing a large-scale, matte mural on canvas instead. That turned out to be a very affordable solution.”
It was “critical” that the mural “not look like a backdrop but a physical part of the set,” however. “We didn’t want shadows on the mural. The solution was to use shadow-free soft lights which is unusual for fashion.” Coming from a film and television background, Bernstein was adept at shadow management.
Tinc’s rental house connections enabled Kirk to easily source a complement of soft lights for Bernstein. “The soft fill really lit the backdrop well,” Bernstein reports. “But we anticipated that there would be no highlights or definition because of the diffuse, even light coming from the softlights. As a result we would lose a lot of texture in the clothes. And that’s a critical part of fashion presentations. So we added a key light, just like on a film set. Ryan sourced a system of ARRI fresnels pointing left to right which added texture to the clothing, made it appear that the sun was coming in from a certain angle, and gave a unity to the whole picture. It was a case of turning lemons into lemonade!”
“Using mostly ARRIs and soft lights rather than lekos for most of the show produced photographer-friendly lighting” ideal for all the press in attendance, Kirk points out. “It was very important that the photography turned out well. I liked the quality of light those fixtures gave the models. It was all about creating sculptural light for them.”
From a technical standpoint Tinc was challenged by what Kirk calls “the realities of the venue. We wanted to get the lights as high as possible to get the best angles. So instead of using pipe or truss we utilized Unistrut, a construction material not designed for lighting applications, which allowed us to position lights all the way up at the ceiling. 4 Wall was very helpful in sourcing it for us.”
Bernstein notes that Tinc helped him create “the sort of lighting that was very complex but that the public didn’t notice – and that was a good thing. On the surface it looked very simple, but there were a ton of challenges involved and one mistake would have been a disaster.” Only the photographers recognized what Bernstein and Tinc had been up against. “When they didn’t want to use their flashes we knew it was a success,” the designer reports.
“We knew Tinc would supply the people and the resources to make sure everything was done right and nothing in the space was damaged,” Bernstein concludes.
At Tinc Melissa Johnston was production electrician and Sarah Arnold assistant production electrician. The electricians were Zoe Huertas, Lance Darcy, Adrian Kozlow, Hondo Weiss-Richmond, Kevin Johnson and Regan Dodson.
About Tinc Design & Productions
Tinc Design & Productions is a full-service staging, lighting, video and audio company dedicated to the performance and special events markets. Tinc’s staff and dedicated freelance personnel encompass the worlds of engineering, rigging, programming, design, drafting, lighting, audio and live/mediated motion and still images. Project after project, and with over 50 years of combined experience, they offer a comprehensive and sophisticated range of services unmatched anywhere else. For more information, email