For their Spring/Summer 2014 "Coal Wasteland" presentation at Milk StudiosMADE Fashion Week last night, En Noir made the experience extra memorable by creating a "Fashion Theater" for viewers (which included Pusha T, Russell Westbrook, Miss Info, Angela Simmons, Carissa Rosario, and Carl Lentz). From the beginning dance performance by Lil Buck to the custom projection mapping by Nathaniel Brown and soundtrack by Stelios Phili, the show was a brilliant meeting of art, dance, and fashion.

We had a chat with En Noir's creative director Jason Wolter about the mountain installation by Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture, who are known for cool projects like the iPhone pillow, "Lift" for the New Museum Spring Gala, "Drift" for Design Miami/ 2012, and retail installations for Richard Chai. Read what Jason had to say about the stage design for one of SS '14's most popular, art-driven shows yet.

The day after the last show, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the next one and how we were going to top that. We did so well, and we had such a great show, but the pressure builds to do even better.

I came up with a couple ideas, and this one stuck. I have a certain life philosophy, and I put it into this show. There were no better artists to work with than Daniel and Alex of Snarkitecture; we knew they would be perfect to bring this vision to life. So we had dinner with them, told them the idea and concept, and then we started brainstorming.

This is actually a custom composite material, it's not foam. It's meant for people to actually stand on. It’s built as if it’s a mountain, so you can climb up the side of it. Lil Buck starts the show, and he uses the scenery. We directed a full, hour-long film that goes with the show and composed an hour-long soundtrack for the show with Stelios Phili. We mapped the scene so the projection isn't anywhere on the mountainside or the heaps of coal (called destructive land). There's steam coming out of them, too. The ceiling is mapped with a film, as well, so it’s actually in the environment. We wanted to make sure that everybody who came in here wouldn’t feel like they were just watching a show. We wanted them in the environment.  

Rob and I work creatively separate from each other. He knew the inspiration, but he hadn't even seen the stage before the show. I hadn’t seen the clothes. I think it's better that way. It's more organic. 

Overall, it’s a real art installation, and it was a huge undertaking to transport and plan everything. It's choreography, dance, and fashion—all together. 

En Noir "Coal Wasteland" SS '14 Credits:
Designer: Rob Garcia
Creative Director: Jason Wolter
Installation By: Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture
Film By: Nathaniel Brown
Art Director: Justin "PJ" Patrick
Technical Director: Curtains
Music By: Stelios Phili
Style Director: Matthew Henson
Casting Director: Kevin Amato 

All Photos by Liz Barclay