Alumni feature: from Institut Montana to the pages of Vogue, Gül Hürgel reminisces about her time at our school

16 March 2021

“If I need to describe Institut Montana in 5 words, I will say Fun, Silence, Peaceful, Time machine. I have so many fond memories of my school time. I remember so well that we were trusted to grow responsibly and we were allowed with a special permission to go to Zug and Zurich with our friends in our free time during weekends. Switzerland was such a safe Country to grow up.

I always had good relationships with my teachers who were around the clock for us. Mr. Mather, in particular, was our Head of Boarding and responsible for all the house parents and students living at school. He cared a lot about each one of us, he was truly dedicated and it was always a pleasure to chat with him.

We still meet him around the world at birthdays and weddings of fellow students. Mr. O’Brien, the Principal of the International School at the time, was also a great mentor. Sadly, we lost him as he passed away a few years ago.

When I joined Institut Montana 25 years ago together with my twin sister, my brother was already studying there. We were reunited and became the Hürgel family. As I came from Turkey, I was a boarding student, and my second home in Switzerland was in the main building Grosses Haus. 

Being far from your family can be challenging at times. I had to go through all my ups and downs with my friends and mentors at school. I was at Montana 25 years ago, and the most valuable thing is the good memories I had and the best friends, the second family I still have around the world near and far.

Being a boarding student prepares you to take care of yourself at an early age. I believe that’s an advantage compared to a student who suddenly gets away from home and his parents at 18 years old.  Institut Montana helped me choose the right studies for College, which shaped my current career. I did the IB certificate for Arts and prepared a portfolio to apply to the famous Parsons School of Design, which then finally provided me with the skill-set I use every day as a fashion designer. 

I want to say to the current students: enjoy each and every moment at Institut Montana. Value the meaning of real friendship. Study hard but enjoy your time.“

As Gül Hürgel says herself, her designs reflect her early years spent at our school in the Swiss mountains where she was surrounded by boundless natural beauty and then her studies in fashion design at Parsons School of Art and Design in Paris and New York. From this experience along with her frequent journeys to serene coastal towns along the Mediterranean such as Portofino, Positano and the Provence to the olive strewn hills and villages along the coast of her native Turkey.

Her dresses are made with natural fabrics, mostly linen, and are filled with timeless elegance, lightness, and femininity. Gül’s unique designs were mentioned in Vogue and are worn by such fashion identities as Kate Foley, Pandora Sykes, and Gemma Arterton.

We are so proud of our alumna’s achievements and we are her biggest admirers. Whilst we wait to have her back on campus after this pandemic, you can check her wonderful creations here:

Our website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience while browsing. Learn more