7 March 2019
Flamboyance and flair will take centre stage on Thursday 21 March when leading independent girls’ boarding school Heathfield in Ascot – rated ‘Excellent’ across all areas by the Independent Schools Inspectorate – showcases art students’ talent in its annual fashion show. Professionally directed by former Creative Director for Karl Lagerfeld and Gucci, Stephen Lisseman, and supported by sponsors Brompton Gardens by Berkeley Homes, this year’s show is based on the theme of ‘Purpose’ – to encourage every student to find her own creative direction and to reflect the spirit of grit and determination that underpins success.
As Heathfield marks its 120th Anniversary, the array of creations gracing the catwalk will be a celebration of work past and present, ranging from costume to wearable sculpture through to demi-couture and accessories. The garments have been designed and produced by students as part of their examination level work for GCSE and A-Level Art and Design, spread across Fine Art and Textiles.
Fashion and Textiles students at Heathfield are encouraged to work across a wide range of disciplines, including: print making, painting and drawing, lens-based media, and sculpture, as well as the more traditional skills, such as pattern cutting, fashion Illustration, costume, jewellery and branding. Every year students are accepted at top choice universities, such as the London College of Fashion, Central St Martins, and Parsons New York, while notable alumni include model Amber Le Bon, fashion designer Tamara Mellon and the late British patron of fashion and art Isabella Blow.
A huge networking event for the students and industry professionals, the show provides many ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities for students to flex their creative talents – from photographing the outfits for the Look Book (like a programme) to dressing the models and organising accessories, it is a collaborative event that intends to give the students a ‘taste’ of what it would be like to work in the fashion industry. Fashion student Minna Samengo-Turner UVI (Year 13) enthused, “The fashion show gives you an opportunity to showcase your garments in a professional environment. It is an experience you don’t usually get and a privilege to take part in.”
This year students benefited from the professional input of fashion industry expert Stephen Lisseman, who approached the school to share his experiences of working in the sector alongside big names such as Karl Lagerfeld, Christopher Bailey, Gucci and Tom Ford. During the Michaelmas and Lent Terms, Stephen has worked with GCSE and A level students on 1:1 tutorials aimed at consolidating design skills and delivered a series of lectures on topics including: Theory of Design, New Aesthetics, Fabric Selection, Portfolio Preparation and Building a Collection.
Organised by Heathfield’s Head of Art & Design and Head of Humanities Faculty, Mrs Eve Feilen, the collaboration has been a huge success. Mrs Feilen commented, “Here at Heathfield we are passionate about supporting every girl in meeting her personal ambitions and goals and equipping her for her future workplace. Stephen’s extensive experience in the fashion industry has given our students an invaluable insight into how their creativity can translate into the world of work. He was very quick to tease out ideas from the students’ work through 1:1 tutorials and group discussions, which has inspired them to ‘think big’.
“As early as GCSE, the Art Department at Heathfield starts to prepare students for Art College and working in creative industries where they need to be able to articulate and rationalise their intentions. A key component of this is helping students to understand why they have made creative choices and to ‘tap in’ to the subconscious drives behind their art making. This approach really resonated with Stephen who discussed with the students the need to find one’s purpose and sense of direction in order to succeed in Fashion.”
Summing up his experience of working with Heathfield students Stephen said, “I hope to share knowledge and excitement that inspires creativity. I believe that one should explore new ideas, push boundaries, in order to make a difference and constantly challenge ourselves to be better.”
Stephen’s website can be found at: http://stephenlisseman.blogspot.com/