Shona Heath: Setting a new Standard

This designer creates the elaborate backdrops for some of the most fantastical fashion shoots

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Shona Heath: Setting a new Standard
Photo by Paul Wetherell

Shona Heath: Setting a new Standard

This designer creates the elaborate backdrops for some of the most fantastical fashion shoots

Photographers and stylists get most of the credit, but it takes a village to create a fashion image. And when the British set designer Shona Heath is involved, the results are rather surreal. Heath, who began her career as a fashion designer, before realizing “sensible” and “small-scale” weren’t part of her vocabulary, has built a life-size biplane from French bread for an Hermès catalog, and a foam weeping willow complete with dirt from the Tuileries Garden for a Lanvin show. Most notable, perhaps, is her work for the photographer Tim Walker, with whom she first collaborated in 2010. (“I made hats out of cakes, and they got completely squashed,” she recalls.) For Walker’s March 2012 W story “Magical Thinking” she created an Asian wonder world replete with enormous Katsushika Hokusai–like waves, overgrown cherry blossoms, and a fire-breathing dragon made of foil cupcake holders. Says Heath: “I always try to push the boundaries a bit, in a very childlike way.”

  • Portrait: Paul Wetherell