Last week’s show at Newcastle High School for Girls was as much a showcase for the creativity, flair and originality of teenage designers, and the very high standards of the School’s Art department, as a traditional ‘fashion show’.
It was the first fashion show of the new School, and the culmination of months of hard work in the Art department: the girls both design and make their creations, before finally showing them on the catwalk. Over a hundred girls between 12 and 18 years old paraded their own designs and collections, as well as modelling the designs of the A Level students.
The show started in dramatic fashion with the whole of Year 8, aged 12 and 13, and the youngest participants, parading their work inspired by the ‘Day of the Dead’ festival, to music “Take me to Church” by Hozier, down the catwalk. Each girl had designed a skull and tee shirt inspired by ‘Day of the Dead’ celebrations (Dia de los Muertos) which have taken place for around 3,000 years in Mexico. The day is devoted to remembering loved ones who have died.
Each form in Year 9 had a different theme inspired by a famous artist such as Lady Gaga and the milliner Philip Treacy; pheasant feathers and Alexander McQueen; boxed packaging inspired by fashion designer Issey Miyake and the artist Donald Judd, and sculptural fashion and the work of Bridget Riley.
Emilia, Year 9, explained how she had made her haute couture dress out of boxed packaging materials: “I made the bodice out of cling film and sellotape, with string to lace it up at the back, then the skirt and long train is made out of brown paper and card and the sculptural flowers out of printed pages from a book.”
Alison Goldie, Head of Art and Design at Newcastle High, said: “An event like this is a wonderful opportunity for the girls to experiment, be inventive, take risks and have fun, as well as developing their practical skills to realise their creative ideas, and learning about deadlines – to have their outfits ready for the show itself.”
Newcastle High offers Textiles, as well as Fine Art, at A Level: “We have some exceptionally talented girls, many of whom will go on to study Art and Design at the highest of levels,” said Alison. “The outfits the girls make for the fashion show will contribute to their final grades, and the show is the culmination of several months’ hard work.”
The A Level students each designed a collection of three to five outfits.
Sarah, who is studying A Level Textiles, explained that she had developed her collection around the theme of Abrahamic Religion: “My collection features hand painted designs inspired by Church murals which portray the richness of religion and the garments themselves. It is inspired by the designs of Dolce and Gabbana and Jean Paul Gautier, both of whom I love.”
Sarah who gained work experience with British fashion designer, Nigel Cabourn, is also studying English Literature and Art at A Level. She hopes to take an Art Foundation course followed by a Degree in womenswear fashion.
Another A Level student, Zoe, has her collection around 18th Century France: “When I watched Marie Antoinette, I was inspired by the style of clothes and I combined this with my love of Balmain’s 2012 collection, Dolce and Gabbana and the Baroque style of the French Palace of Versailles.”
Hilary French, Head of Newcastle High School for Girls, said: “This is always such an amazing event combining creativity, hard graft, team work, theatrical performance and fun. It’s also good for developing resilience as often the creations don’t turn out as originally planned and there are some challenging moments along the way!”