The unexpected runway moment, the candid dressing room...

The unexpected runway moment, the candid dressing room expression, the steely-eyed scrutiny of the front-row denizens. Runway Madness is a personal invitation to New York’s infamous Fashion Week. More than 100 arresting photographs by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Lucian Perkins, many never published until now, tell the behind-the-scenes story of this unparalleled fashion event. Perkins captures the models up-close and personal: Kate Moss without make-up, Naomi Campbell in curlers, and Shalom Harlow, Amber Valetta, Christy Turlington, and many others in high pomp as well as unguarded circumstances. Also exposed are the fashion editors and buyers, journalists, and stars whose high-visibility presence is essential. Quotes from fashion insiders provide a running commentary, and captions by Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan explain each image. The beat, the lights, the cascade of beauty and color: this is not only a performance but also a performance art. Long and lean like the runway itself, Runway Madness is the total high fashion experience.



“The best photojournalism takes us to worlds we would otherwise not see: to war, to disaster, to exotic lands. In his new book, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Lucian Perkins turned his lens on the alien world of New York’s fashion shows. Frivolous, you think? Just look at the conflict and drama before designer Carmen Marc Valvo’s presentation.” Life, October 1998

American Photo

“Perhaps because Perkins is more removed from the fashion world than some photographers, he is able to focus not so much on the clothes as the people behind the productions.” American Photo, September 1998

The Washington Post

“The collection of images spans a decade of fashion, and through these pictures, the viewer can see how the industry has been transformed. Individually, Perkins’ photographs capture the nuances of the new fashion world; collectively, they help to explain how this new fashion order came to be.” The Washington Post, September 20, 1998.


“Runway Madness is an up-close look at the absurd/exciting three-ring circus (a.k.a. the fashion collections). Lucian’s photos make you feel like you’re right in the middle of it, getting elbowed in the eye by a bratty, overpaid supermodel.”


“Runway Madness manages to pinpoint that exact moment of revelation when the lights dim, creativity peaks, the clothes speak, and the audience responds. The frenzy of the visible eclipses time and space until the smoke clears, then it’s either the “Next Thing” or merely “Next.” Detour, September 1998

Washington City Paper

“The combination of candid photos and off-the cuff commentary is neither mocking nor reverent, illustrating fashion’s contradictions and its magnetic appeal. The biz is shown to be at once absurd and overblown, but also reflective of current mainstream notions of femininity and individuality. Fashion’s spectacle has become so pervasive that an experienced perspective like Perkins’ is needed to understand it all. Occasionally, Madness reveals the attitude that keeps insiders’ heads together–they’re only clothes, after all.” Washington City Paper September 18, 1998

Lucian Perkins

Website via Visura

Lucian Perkins is integrated to:
Visura site builder, a tool to grow your photography business
Visura's network for visual storytellers and journalists
A photography & film archive by Visura
Photography grants, open calls, and contests
A newsfeed for visual storytellers