Alexandre de Betak’s career is an adventuresome mix of coincidence and seemingly endless self-confidence. It is the story of a 17-year old who stumbles into the life and studio of a Spanish fashion designer in Paris, in no time lands her a cover story and a sales contract, and before he has even taken his Baccalauréat is Art Director and Head of Sales at a new fashion label. Two years later he goes to New York and stages shows at the new Fashion Week, for Michael Kors and Donna Karen, among others. As of 1999 he is responsible for the fashion shows of Christian Dior and Victoria’s Secret – and finally begins turning fashion presentations into runway spectacles for the media age.
People had, of course, already been down this path before de Betak. Even Yves Saint Laurent’s fashion shows were no longer mere parades in the salons of the haute couture companies at which Messrs. Balmain and Dior would present their latest creations to the eminent clientele. Nonetheless, the focus was on the runway and the designs displayed. Nowadays though, the artificial worlds built for multi-million dollar shows in the Grand Palais and elsewhere all over the world are due to Alexandre de Betak’s influence of the presentation of fashion over the last 20 years.
Entitled “Fashion Show Revolution”, a major monograph devoted to Bureau Betak’s work is being published by Phaidon. Its splendid illustrations give readers a sense of the spectacular shows Alexandre de Betak and his team have staged for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli, and so many others. (fap)
Alexandre de Betak/Sally Singer
Betak: Fashion Show Revolution
292 pages, hardback, in English, 450 ills.
Phaidon Press, London 2017