Q and A with Paula Wallace, Executive Director of Ovation for OSCAR, the film won Best Fashion Documentary Award at LFFF 2018. Paula is the president and co-founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design

Q. How did fashion get started at SCAD??

A. A student asked for it over 25 years ago. New fashion is taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at SCAD Atlanta, SCAD Hong Kong, SCAD Lacoste, and SCAD Savannah.


Q. How has fashion grown at SCAD since then?

A. Within a year of creating that first fashion course at SCAD, we created a B.F.A. in fashion, then an M.F.A., and by 1996 we staged our first SCAD Fashion Show, which has evolved into the renowned SCAD FASHWKND that takes place every May. Guests to campus have included Vivienne Westwood, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Guo Pei, Oscar de la Renta, and many others. Today, the SCAD School of Fashion is the most comprehensive fashion school of its kind in the world, with degree programs in fashion, fibers, jewelry, accessory design, fashion marketing and management, luxury and fashion management, and our newest addition, the business of beauty and fragrance. Fashion is now one of our top five majors. The Business of Fashion recently ranked SCAD the No. 1 fashion program in the U.S. overall, No. 1 in the world for “Best Learning Experience,” and No. 1 in the U.S. for “Best Long-term Value” in the Graduate Business category.



Q. Why does SCAD executive produce films like Ovation for Oscar??

A. SCAD provides international platforms for SCAD alumni who actually create films. Fashion films are the perfect marriage of both forms, providing opportunities for SCAD fashion and film students and alumni to gain experience across disciplinary boundaries. More and more actors are making fashion films. In fact, two of this year’s SCAD Savannah Film Festival honorees, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, have acted in fashion films for Prada and YSL.

Q. What other films has SCAD made or are you working on now?

A. We recently produced a documentary called I am Thinking of Pierre Cardin to accompany a retrospective exhibition of his designs at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film. Company C features the work of alumnus Andre Ondrejcak, who created an original Baroque-inspired pop opera; this short film, spearheaded by three SCAD alumni filmmakers, takes viewers behind the scenes of Ondrejcak’s YOU US WE ALL. A feast for the senses! We have more films in the works as well. I’m most looking forward to our film Guo Pei: Couture Beyond, which will hit the festival circuit very soon! (Think haute couture set against lush lowcountry marsh, sand quarries, and wine-dark ocean vistas.)

Q. How else does SCAD show its commitment to fashion history?

A. SCAD maintains an extensive costume collection. The SCAD Permanent Fashion Collection includes the entire wardrobe of fashion icon C.Z. Guest, and haute couture from Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, and Givenchy: all timeless designers whose work is studied and exhibited at SCAD. All courses in art history and fashion history are taught by expert scholars at SCAD. SCAD also creates books with elaborate fashion photography and essays from prominent experts, as well as fashion exhibitions and films; for example Little Black Dress (2013) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (2017), both published by Rizzoli.

Q. How does SCAD show its commitment to culture?

A. Exhibitions devoted to fashion history have been presented at SCAD including Pleasure and Pain which featured shoes from Egyptian tombs through moderntimes, as well as Threads of History that featured historic garments from a private collector. Our brightest example is the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta — the world's only university museum dedicated to the curation and intersection of these two heroic disciplines. SCAD FASH features a film salon, where SCAD fashion films and exhibition-related documentaries and movies are screened. The museum also features a fashion resource library and a study and conservation laboratory, where students gain a deeper understanding of garment construction. SCAD prepares award-winning curriculum guides for pre-college teachers and students to use when visiting SCAD exhibitions.

Q. Tell us about fashion exhibitions at SCAD FASH and the SCAD Museum of Art.

A. Past SCAD FASH exhibitions include Oscar de la Renta, the work of photographer Bill Cunningham, Carolina Herrera, and a recent exhibition of designer Ane Crabtree’s costumes from The Handmaid’s Tale. The SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah also features exhibitions from renowned artists like Carlos Cruz-Diez and designers like Vivienne Westwood. And just in time for this year’s SCAD Savannah Film Festival, we’re opening an exhibition of Terry Dresbach’s lavish historical costumes from the new season of Outlander at the SCAD Museum of Art.