Dance and fashion collided during New York City’s Fashion Week when choreographer Larry Keigwin staged the city’s largest public fashion show. Runways were set around the iconic Lincoln Center fountain, and Keigwin created intricate walking patterns for 170 models on the circular maze of catwalks. Cast by Vogue editors, the models highlighted fall’s hottest trends designed by top designers. DT caught up with Keigwin after the big event.
How did you get this job?
I have a guardian angel in my life whose name is Damian Woeztel. He saw my work backstage at Fall for Dance one year and really liked it. He is friends with Anna Wintour, Vogue‘s editor in chief, who approached him and asked for a recommendation. He recommended me. I was walking down the street when I saw I got an email message from The Office of Anna Wintour. And I said to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I looked, and it was real. She told me she wanted an army of models to come from the streets around the fountain. Then, when we were in initial discussions, their stylist team came to see a rehearsal of my piece Megalopolis. It was like an audition.
You met Anna Wintour; was that intimidating?
The first meeting was, yes. Mostly I was conflicted about what to wear to meetings because they’re all so stylish at Vogue. As dancers we just tend to be comfortable.
Did you have a vision of more dance included during the show?
Yes, definitely, dance was the first thing on my agenda. I asked Anna’s assistants and the production company and then I finally asked Anna herself for more dancing, and she said no. I even brought ten dancers to the Vogue offices one day. But she only wanted models. Featuring dance would have been amazing. Maybe next year!
Since the runway wasn’t set up with the usual catwalk, how did you organize the walking patterns for so many models?
The production team created the seating, and they asked if I liked the circular template–I loved it. We had to do several presentations for Anna Wintour, and unlike how I normally work, I had to graph everything out. I made three or four different drafts. The models were able to rehearse for only three hours that day, so the pattern had to be easy enough for them to learn and retain. I also had to keep in mind the camera angles and their treacherous platform heels.
Did you have a favorite top model?
I was so taken by Gisele [Bundchen]. She’s such a pro and she’s bright, smart and fun. We were high-fiving! The top models were all really wonderful, but she stood out.
What do you think you will take away from this experience?
I’m starting to realize the power of organization. What Vogue was able to accomplish because they were so organized is incredible. I also hope some of the people I met will become future resources. For example, if I need a specific makeup artist or a wig stylist, I’ll be able to call somebody.
Your piece Runaway examines the fashion world. If you revisit this piece, will you change anything?
The attitude will stay the same, but I’ll be paying closer attention to the styling. Downstairs of this fashion show was outrageous. It was so chaotic–so much makeup and effort goes into each particular look–it’s incredible. Next time I’ll be more specific in terms of the individual aesthetic that I present on stage.
Photo by Tom Caravaglia