NEW YORK – Officially, the WELL FLEX from CHAUVET Professional is promoted for use as a “precise and powerful” uplight on the company’s website. Although the battery-powered RGBW LED certainly performs this function, it also excels at downlighting. This was brilliantly demonstrated during New York Fashion Week 2015, when lighting designer Blaine Hentz, positioned 48 of the units on 12’ high silver truss structures to light the runway for one of the week’s most widely covered events, the Want My Look and Bellami Hair Fashion Show.
Held at the chic Midtown Loft and Terrace on the 11th floor of 267 Fifth Avenue, and attended by invited A-List fashion journalists and trend setters, the event featured Want My Look Models wearing the company’s latest fashions, as well as some stunning Bellami hair extensions. Also on hand was a bevy of celebrities from the world of entertainment and fashion, including Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish and Lilly Ghalichi, of Shahs of Sunset fame.
Hentz, of Viper Studios, lined the sides and back of the stage with custom-built silver truss structures. He places WELL FLEX fixtures throughout the structures to give the runway a warm, even field of white light. “We ran the WELL FLEX units from above to create the kind of smooth field we wanted,” he said. “Mostly we ran the lights at white due to the nature of the show, but on occasion, we’d compensate by dialing in the red LED to add a little tone to the pure white light.”
The flat, even field and color temperature of the WELL FLEX was extremely important, since the entire fashion show was being filmed by the Bravo TV Network for an episode of Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, since one of the show’s cast members was a Want My Look model. “There were no shadows on the runway and the lighting was consistent throughout, which made it great for broadcast,” said Hentz.
It was more than just color temperature, however, that made the WELL FLEX well suited for this high profile, prestigious project. There were a number of factors that convinced us to go with these fixtures,” said Hentz. “From the dimensions of the fixture to its aesthetic appearance, the stars were all aligned.”
As is true at many Manhattan venues, the Midtown Loft and Terrace has a relatively low ceiling height. The advanced focusing features of the WELL FLEX, together with its small footprint, were instrumental in helping Hentz balance the demands of covering a wide area from a low angle while keeping a small footprint.
The 22°-31° zoom of the WELL FLEX also came in handy. “Due to the venue’s limitations, and to maximize seating, we had to have a fixture that had a built-in zoom,” said Hentz. “We also needed battery powered fixtures, since it would have been virtually impossible to draw power for 48 fixtures with all of the other equipment that was being used during the show. As things turned out, we used the WELL FLEXes for eight hours straight with no power issues at all.”
Since the Want My Look and Bellami Hair Fashion Show took place during one of the biggest spots on the fashionista calendar (the New York show is regarded as one of industry “Big Four” events along with London, Paris and Milan), the appearance of the fixtures running along the truss structure was extremely important. The chrome finish of the fixtures made a valuable aesthetic contribution to Hentz’s design.
“We felt that the chrome finish of the FLEX series would be a great aesthetic feature for us as all units were mounted to silver truss structures,” said the LD. “The fixtures seemed like design elements in their own right.”
Setup time was another challenge Hentz and his team faced. “We had very limited time to load in, setup, and focus before the dress rehearsals,” he said. “As always seems to be the case with design projects, budget was also a factor, but in the end thanks to a great team effort on the part of everyone — from Cathryn Roache of Viper Studios, who is the designated preferred Audio Visual vendor for Midtown Loft and Terrace, Amber Starr, the booking manager, and Charles Moses, our video production specialist, to all of our production people: Randall Katz, Christopher Pinkston, Michael Acampora, Russel Somer — the show was a resounding success.”