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Learning couture the French way

Once retail takes off in a big way in India, designers will be required in all fields, Laurent Guichoux, education director, Lisaa School of Design, tells Vandana Ramnani

education Updated: May 14, 2013 13:26 IST
Vandana Ramnani

Laurent Guichoux has had a diverse career path following his skill in art, fashion marketing and business management. Passionate about art, he was selected by the Fine Art Academy in Rennes in France, and earned a master’s in fine art after five years. He started his career as an art teacher and painter in France and has had critically-acclaimed exhibitions of his personal work.

He graduated in fashion marketing and management from the reputed Selective French Fashion Institute (IFM) chaired by Pierre Berger founder of Yves St Laurent and Didier Grumback, chairman of the French Chamber of Haute Couture. Using his competence in design and marketing, Guichoux worked with textile manufacturers, and fashion brands in Paris and New York including Catherine Malandrino, Nautical etc.

However, after travelling to India in the early 2000s and seeing the interest in India for fashion and design, he started his own consultancy, offering Indian companies skills and tools with which to approach the highly competitive and quality conscious French market. He’s today the education director, Lisaa School of Design that has branches in Gurgaon and Bangalore.

The school is based on founding principles of French design and aesthetics. It has multiple schools located in Paris, Nantes, Rennes and Strasbourg. In India, Lisaa School of Design established its first institute in 2011 in Gurgaon, followed by the recent launch of its second institute in Bangalore in March this year. The School partners with world- renowned universities and over 50 design schools globally. In addition, it has an association with prominent brands like Euro Disney, BNP Paribas, LVMH, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Christian Dior among others.

HT Education chatted with Guichoux over a cup of coffee.

What is your student intake for this year?
Around 500 students sat for the LISAA CAT exam this year and we have selected around 80.

Tell us about the courses offered at your institute?
We offer a foundation course in the first year which is common to all. This is to help students understand where their skills lie, their orientation and what they wish to do. It trains them in basic skills such as sketching, art and design. In fact, the entire creative process right from the basics.

What is it that you look for in a student?
Admissions at the institute are based on an interview and presentation of a portfolio of personal work. The student should be extremely motivated, sure about taking up design as a profession and highly motivated as competition in this field is very high. We consider two aspects - technical ability and creativity of a student.

Our approach to design fields promotes creativity and experimentation.

What are the career prospects for designers in India?
The Indian market is nascent in terms of design but demand for designers is growing. Once retail takes off in a big way, designers will be required in all fields. We intend opening all departments in India - textile design, graphic design, fashion design, interiors, space design and later animation. We also intend offering masters in design and fashion.

Tell us something about the programmes offered at your institute.
Lisaa-India offers three programmes. The foundation year allows students to evaluate their aptitude and choose a course as per their orientation and interest. It offers specialised programmes in fashion design and textile design which is a two-year course, graphic design, illustration and web design which is again a two-year course and interior design and product design which is a three year course.

Do you intend setting up branches elsewhere in the country?
We wish to retain the idea of a boutique design school and will not take in more than 500 students. It is important for us to give individual attention to each student and more flexibility to schools to develop new projects.

Tell us something about your faculty?
All our teachers are designers. The school has a well-enriched international faculty base with most of them from France itself.