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Photo: Cheap monday
Photo: Cheap monday

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Setting the stage for Stockholm Fashion Week

What does a set designer do? Sahara Widoff, mastermind behind Acne's and Ann-Sofie Back's shows at Stockholm Fashion Week, tells us about her job.

Sahara Widoff, the mastermind behind Acne's and Ann-Sofie Back's sets at the Stockholm Fashion Week, is passionate about spaces – large or small, light or dark.

This is Sahara Widoff

Age: 36
Lives: In Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden
Most proud of: I am not very nostalgic, so I tend to like the things I did most ­recently. I really enjoyed my Cheap Monday s/s 2015 show, where the models jumped into a ­swimming pool.
Works I wish I had done: I love all the Prada shows. There’s always something ­unexpected in addition to the actual collection. It is hard to put together a ­direction that works season after season. But they have a strong designer.

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“There should be some contradiction,” she says. “I think it’s fun to build the show around a clear context or a theme. It’s rare for me to do shows that are catwalk only – I like to think of it as a piece of theatre or a dance performance.”

Finding the right location can be the hardest part. Right now, she’s looking for a venue that can contain an explosion.
“I usually sit down with the designer and write a brief,” she says. “I decide what the big issues are and then start scouting. The PR department always wants it to be accessible, easy to find and close to other shows. Sometimes I get lucky.”

She adds that the clothes are rarely ready until the last minute. 

“Often I have a clear concept, and then the day before the show, the collection looks completely different to what I had imagined. Then I can’t stick to the idea I had two months ago. You have to be prepared to kill your darlings.”

Photo: Acne

Working closely with Ann-Sofie Back

Putting on a show takes flexibility, organization and cooperation. The closer she works with the designer, Widoff says, the easier it is.
 “There’s a lot to be discussed. I’ve been working with Ann-Sofie Back for so long that we think along the same lines. The longer you work with someone, and the closer the cooperation you have, the easier it is to know which way to go.”

Fashion shows, Widoff says, are all about artistic expression and often involve extravagance or shock tactics.
“I don’t think see fashion as art, but shows are a different matter. You can stage them as an installation or a performance with high artistic ambitions. I’m not that interested in fashion itself, although I think there’s something very interesting about its temporary nature.”

Widoff’s work often involves sculptures and large constructions, and music is very important.
“I would love to do something at Versailles,” she says. “I love old run-down factories, but it would be cool to have a really grand venue to work with.”

 

Text: Emma Olsson 

 

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