Haute Couleur

For years now the highlight of the summer fashion shows in Italy has been a summer spectacle called Donna Sotto le Stelle held on the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna in Rome).

Using the splendid Roman stairway as a catwalk, the event showcases the best from the biggest names in fashion. Sent live on Italy’s Canale 5, the show is based around a carefully executed lighting scheme devised by Lighting Director Gianni Mastropietro.

MAC 2000s were used to light the Spanish Steps and project graphics on the six giant screens that lined them. Working to a tight time schedule, Mastropietro joined forces with producer Cenci to ensure the designers’ collections were viewed in the best possible light. We asked LD Gianni Mastropietro to share some of his insights.

How did you devise the lighting scheme for this year?

For a show of this type, it was important to emphasize the clothes and make sure the models look their very best. But I also wanted to apply color in a way that was more in keeping with theatre than traditional television. I like to explore the subtleties of light, and try to recreate in light something of what the Impressionists achieved with color; I was also keen to create some dramatic effects, but in a way that supported – not overpowered – the events on stage.

What colors did you choose to use?

I love the luminescence of pastel colors. I used the MAC 2000 Performance for their exceptional CMY color mixing system and color temperature correction. In this case I chose the colors red, orange, pink, pastel blue and lavender. I even used the colors green and yellow, despite the taboo against using green in television because of the nasty effect it has on natural flesh tones when used carelessly.

You placed Martin profiles along the stairs. How are they used?

Martin fixtures provide both high luminosity and superb beam definition. I placed 18 MAC 2000 Profiles on either side of the steps, 10 at the top of the stairs and there are a further 12 reserved for backlighting. I used the MAC 2000 Performances to create a framed strip of light that at certain moments replicates the Italian flag. Both the framing system and gobo animation system were very useful for creating movement up and down the steps.

All lighting was supplied and installed by Luciano Vinciguerra of Arco Multimedia Group, one of the leading rental companies in Europe.

Martin equipment used:
60 MAC 2000 Profile
20 MAC 2000 Performance
60 MAC 600

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