Vogue venture at Cornell Street Studios

Jen Kiaba photograph (left) and Helen Schofield design (right).

“Passion for Fashion” opening to spotlight Helen Schofield and more than 40 local artists this Saturday at Kingston’s Cornell Street Studios


Cornell Street Studios in Kingston will launch their spring exhibit “Passion for Fashion” with a bang this Saturday, May 12 from 6 to 10 p.m. Along with food, music by Deejay Rodan and a wealth of fashion accessories and jewelry available for purchase, the reception will include a tableau-type presentation from 7 to 8 p.m. of live models posing like mannequins, wearing vintage and handmade clothing, and will showcase the fashion-themed artwork of more than 40 local artists, photographers and designers.

The featured artist will be Helen Schofield, whose original fashion illustrations and sketches from the 1950s will be exhibited alongside her more recent abstract paintings and pastels. Renee Darmstadt, the studio’s director, is enthusiastic about the upcoming event. “It’s not just an art show,” she says, “it’s a Happening.”


Zurich-born Schofield worked as an independent fashion designer during the 1950s in Europe, primarily in Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Turkey. Trained in the principles of both fashion design and fine art, she has lived life on her own terms, traveling extensively, going where the work was interesting and pursuing her own creative path. Today Schofield devotes her time to painting in her Boiceville studio. Her work is more abstract these days, but still related to the human form, although more to the face than the figure.

In her ten years in fashion, Schofield chose to work independently rather than starting her own label or aligning herself with one particular designer. Working on her own allowed her to live in different countries and to take on interesting projects that satisfied her creatively, she says. One such project was early on in Schofield’s career: working with a woman whose small shop in Italy made handwoven fabrics. “She wanted somebody to make a collection for her using her fabrics, [to make] elegant leisurewear for expensive places,” says Schofield. “It was a collaboration. I had to make the pattern that she could use to calculate how to weave [the fabric] to plan the stripe placement.” The production occurred on the island of Capri, she says, and the presentation of the line happened in Rome. “That was a wonderful job,” says Schofield. “I learned a lot, and had a lot of fun, also.”

The fashion illustrations by Schofield on exhibit in “Passion for Fashion” are original works on paper done in the 1950s with water media, brushwork and pen-and-ink. Some were created as promotional pieces for her fashion designs, and others were done, says Schofield, “just to enjoy myself.” According to Darmstadt, Schofield’s fashion sketches have an appealing vintage quality and convey a real sense of their time. “They’re a piece of fashion history,” she says. “And Helen’s a delight to have in the show. She’s very passionate, and you can tell she really lived this.”

The admission fee for the opening reception is $10. The exhibit “Passion for Fashion” will run through the end of June at Cornell Street Studios, located at 168 Cornell Street in Midtown Kingston. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with varying hours on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call (845) 331-0191 or visit www.facebook.com/pages/Cornell-St-Studios/63121833812.