When you put 28 of the world’s top models on a single runway, and light them with more than 350 VARI*LITE luminaires, the result is amazingly beautiful…and the lingerie’s not too bad either.
In the past weeks, a number of major fashion shows, pageants and glamorous events have used VARI*LITE fixtures to provide lighting that is equally as elegant as the featured stars of the night. The challenge in lighting these types of events is finding an automated fixture that offers warmth and consistency in the color temperatures to provide a warm glow that is most attractive for the models.
VLPS Lighting Services provided automated lighting for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, taped at the Lexington Avenue Armory and then broadcast Nov. 20 on CBS. VLPS also provided the lighting packages for MTV Fashionably Loud at the Roseland Ballroom and the Glamour Women of the Year 2002 Awards at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition, The Miss Chinese USA Pageant made use of the VARI*LITE fixtures in the house lighting system at the Manhattan Center Studios.
The primary fixture of choice for the shows was the VL1000TM ERS, particularly the tungsten unit with automated shutters. For the Victoria’s Secret show, lighting designer Bob Dickinson used 65 of the VL1000TSTM models as part of a lighting package that included 357 VARI*LITE fixtures.
The Victoria’s Secret show combined high-tempo, aggressive music with supermodels such as Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. Show producers wanted the models to look attractive, and they also requested that the lighting reflect the dynamics of the music. In addition to illuminating more than two dozen of the world’s most beautiful women on stage at once, the lighting also had to reflect the tone and theme of each segment of the show.
Photo: Miss Chinese USA Pageant 2002
Photo Credit: Craig Caserta
Because the Victoria’s Secret show was taped for television, Dickinson was faced with another challenge. The criteria and needs for lighting television are different from lighting a normal fashion show. A traditional fashion show doesn’t use many lights, especially high-density lights, which are needed for the punch and brightness most television productions require.
“I felt that if I used a high-density moving lighting system, I would have the potential of gaining the flexibility that we are used to in television and touring environments in the fashion show format,” Dickinson said. ” We used high discharge units for audience backlight and effect lighting, but for the actual models we used the VL1000 tungsten fixtures. The VL1000 units allowed us to get a high degree of control on the runway without actually spilling on the audience or the scenic elements.”
Lighting director Andy O’Reilly controlled the entire system through a single VirtuosoTM console.
“A system as large as this one is perfectly suited to the Virtuoso controller because it can be operated without slave boards, and the Virtuoso is fast enough to keep up with the hysterical production schedule,” Dickinson said. “But any automated instrument installation is useless without the artist to program it. In this case, lighting director Andy O’Reilly had the abilities and aesthetic to make it happen.”
The design team of lighting designer Otis Howard and programmers Patrick Dierson and Mike Appel pulled double duty with MTV Fashionably Loud and the Glamour awards, which were produced by Line By Line Productions. Howard put 48 of the VL1000TS units to work for the MTV program, which will air at a later date. For the Women of the Year 2002 awards, Otis used a mixture of VL1000 arc and tungsten units as part of the VARI*LITE lighting package.
Lighting designer Billy Wong, along with programmer and lighting director Craig Caserta created an elegant look for the Miss Chinese USA Beauty Pageant with 10 VL2000TM Spot luminaires and 4 VL2000 TM Wash luminaires.
“The VARI*LITE Series 2000TM fixtures were the workhorse of the show,” Caserta said. “They set the mood and look while the other gear filled in. I was very impressed with the fixtures’ speed and color system. From saturated to pastels, I was able to get the colors I wanted and needed.”
VARI*LITE gear on each show:
65 VL1000TSTM luminaires
63 VL2000TM wash
16 VL2416TM wash luminaires
40 VL5TM luminaires
86 VL5BTM luminaires
69 VL6CTM luminaires
18 VL7TM luminaires
1 VirtuosoTM control console
MTV Fashionably Loud
48 VL1000 TS luminaires
8 VL2416 wash luminaires
40 VL5 luminaires
24 VL6C luminaires
Glamour Women of the Year 2002 Awards
8 VL1000AS luminaires
4 VL1000TS luminaires
4 VL2000 Wash luminaires
12 VL5 luminaires
6 VL6C luminaires
Miss Chinese USA Pageant
10 VL2000 Spot luminaires
4 VL2000 Wash luminaires