Alumna, Rhea Thierstein, is an Artist, Art Director and Set Designer, and has recently showcased her work in the Hermès Christmas Artist Windows.

Since graduating in 2005 with an FdA in Commercial Photography, Rhea has collaborated with the likes of Photographer Tim Walker, and worked with clients such as Dior, Vogue, and John Lewis.

She gives an insight into her career to date, and discusses the inspiration behind the Hermès Christmas windows.

“The transition from Commercial Photography was discovering Shona Heath whilst doing an internship at SHOWstudio during my degree and working for her for four-and-a-half years. Through working for her, I built a long standing relationship with Tim Walker, first designing his book, Pictures, and later collaborating with him on many shoots for quite a number of years.

“The Hermès Christmas windows for the UK and Ireland, can be found on New Bond Street, Sloane Street, Royal Exchange and Brown Thomas in Dublin. I also designed and installed snails, glowing stars and a moon on the Bond Street Terrace as well as the floral arches for the three London stores, so it’s been a total Christmas take over!

“I’ve taken inspiration from Victorian and Edwardian Christmas cards and created something unconventionally festive with a poetic sense of play to celebrate diversity, friendship, relationships, and family. The dioramas feel nostalgic and celebrate nature and its beauty with a festive feel. A little dusting of magic capturing a tender moment which is left open to the viewer’s interpretation. The windows feel like paintings with paint splatters, brush strokes and watercolour skies.

“Each window has a narrative and tells the story of the relationship between two unlikely characters and takes you on a magical adventure from the strike of midnight on Christmas eve in to dawn on Christmas morning.”

 What would be your one piece of advice for the next generation of creatives?

“It’s a long bumpy road. Enjoy the quiet roads and the busy ones!”

Visit Rhea’s website to see more of her work

Photography: Melvyn Vincent (window images), Anthony Craddock (floral arch images)

Set build: Andy Knight Ltd, Floral Arches: Phillipa Craddock 

Artist: Rhea Thierstein

Credit to Rhea’s team of assistants for all their hard work.