Just last Friday, Geneva’s University of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève) celebrated its 10th anniversary. A mere ten years for the school’s fashion department has become one of the most sought-after in the world, as demonstrated by HEAD – Genève’s ranking as one of the best international schools in the prestigious London-based magazine Business of Fashion.
Naturally, the HEAD Défilé has become a major fashion event in Geneva, attracting an audience from all over the world, including professionals in the field.
Even though the school’s level of requirement remains high, the Fashion Department also owes its international reputation to the promising talent of its students, and once again, 2016 was no exception with a new batch of talented BA and MA graduates, including Vanessa Schindler and Xénia Laffely who both obtained an extremely rare distinction.
The list of prize-winning graduates, whose work has earned international recognition, features the BA collections of Clémentine Küng and Laura Boned, both finalists of the 31st International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères in 2015. Küng was also awarded the Lissignol-Chevalier et Galland Fund within the field of applied arts in 2015, while Lucie Guiragossian’s BA collection won the Swiss Design Awards in the same year. Finally, Beata Modrzynska received the Prix d’excellence from the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
For the second year running, the show was held at Espace Hippomène, a huge industrial complex transformed into a spectacular site for a fashion show and a showroom. The public’s enthusiasm and fidelity have contributed to the show’s success as one of the HEAD’s major events. Once again this year, more than 2,000 available seats for the 18:00 and 20:30 fashion shows were booked online on the school’s website in record time.
The 2016 HEAD Défilé presented 20 BA collections, including 11 women’s collections, 8 men’s collections and 1 children’s collection, as well as 5 MA collections, including 3 women’s collections and 2 men’s and mixed collections.
Léa Peckre, Head of the Fashion and Accessories Design at HEAD since 2015, was in charge of the artistic direction of the 2016 HEAD Défilé. A leading figure for a new generation of experienced young designers, she has been managing her own Parisian brand since 2012, after proving her worth in the haute couture creation workshops of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy and Isabelle Marant, after graduating. In 2011, her collection entitled Les cimetières sont des champs de fleurs (‘Cemeteries are Fields of Flowers’) earned her the Grand Jury Prize at the Hyeres Festival, presided over by Raf Simons, and in 2015 she won the First Collection Prize at the ANDAM – the National Association for the Development of Fashion Arts.
Along with the show and awards ceremony, the BA graduates in Product Design / Jewellery & Accessory collections were exhibited in the showroom located in the same space. The selection featured 4 jewellery projects, 2 watchmaking projects, 1 pouch accessory project, 1 fan project, and 1 shoe accessory project, as well as the MA in Fashion and Accessories Design collection which presented a bag accessory project.
HEAD – Genève is the only school in Switzerland to offer a specific programme at BA and MA level in Jewellery, Watch and Accessory Design. The program covers product design in a broad sense, as demonstrated by the diversity of the graduates’ collections: jewellery, bags, fans, accessories and shoes.
This dense program has grown to include a Chair in Watch Design since 2015, proposing a specific career path and training designers capable of working in the field. Two graduates’ collections confirm the success of this new option.
Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Artistic Director at Lacoste and President of the Jury of the 2016 HEAD Défilé was interviewed by Jean-Pierre Blanc, Manager of Villa Noailles and Director of the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, in the presence of more than 200 guests, including important fashion journalists from around the world.