NYFW SS15 live runway sketching portfolio

fashion shows,illustration,New York — Danielle on September 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I went into this New York Fashion Week with such certainty that this season was My Season! I had two gigs lined up for Well Known Clients. Knowing that I was going into this fashion week being paid for a change, I was feeling cocky.

Then in a twist that should not have surprised me at all, both jobs fell through. Not because I Suck and No One Wants Me (although that’s what it felt like at the time), but just because flaking out during fashion week is as basic as black. A huge part of my job is processing disappointment when projects don’t work out. And I guess I go into every fashion week with high hopes, it’s all part of psyching myself up for the massive outlay of energy and cash it takes to get me there, so I was crushed. Usually I cry after fashion week – this time I cried before. Which completely skewed the mood of the whole endeavour.

In any case, the shows were happening and I was there anyway, so I threw out a bunch of last minute requests and got on with it.

BCBGmaxazria 1

BCBGMAXAZRIA was the first show and I was watercolour-ready, but the house lights never went up. So I sketched it on the iPad using Paper – really the perfect solution for live-sketching low-light situations. The mood was Lana Del Rey dusty rose, with fluttering ruffles.

BCBGmaxazria 2

The first show I watercoloured was Meden. Very clean lines of a blue-lined white coat presented an ideal sketch opportunity.

Meden 1 lo
I decided that this season was going to be a bit more about selecting subjects based on the composition they provided – not every look is equal when it comes to illustration.

costello tagliapietra 1
The other thing I wanted to attempt was to recapture some of the accident and awkwardness of my earlier portfolios. I also tried to play with the scale, doing more “beauty” illustrations focusing on the models faces. This one at Costello Tagliapietra pleases me even though it’s overworked. That show was an oasis on a brutally hot day. I had never successfully gotten into a show at MADE before, and the angels at People’s Revolution made it happen. The inside of Milk Studios was cool and the air was scented with something sweet and comforting. It gave me some hope back.

Son Jung Wan 3 lo
There was a kimono effect to the sleeves at TOME, and bright pinks.

Carmen Marc Valvo 2 lo

The hair at Carmen Marc Valvo was captivating for me – a low, braided side bun with a sweeping bang across the other side – it looked great from both sides.

carmen marc valvo

The gorgeous feminine dresses at Carmen Marc Valvo just cried out for a Rene Gruau style flourish. I feel like this was the single most successful sketch of the season.

misha nonoo beauty

I did a bit of backstage sketching at Misha Nonoo who very kindly offered me access – though grabbing drawings backstage is not easy. This model had a piquant, distinctive profile. I met my friend Odessa at that show and she very kindly shared her seat assignment (lucky BB1!) with me. However, it was bench seating and someone squeezed in on my right which meant I couldn’t quite achieve the freedom of movement required for successful runway sketches. It’s too bad because I liked the collection and they had been so sweet about access.

william okpo 1

My luck changed that afternoon at William Okpo – it took place in a gymnasium, and there was more than enough elbow room in a pit party that consisted of one photographer, one videographer, and me. The clothes were also brilliantly brief and styled with amazing hair.

william okpo 2

Most of the models had darker skintones with white eye makeup which allowed me the opportunity to try a new way of rendering skin tone that worked out GREAT. This show was such a delight to sketch, it was the highlight of my fashion week.

william okpo 3

I had a fan in the crowd of Nicole Miller who helped me get a place to sketch, little acts of kindness mean so much. I could only see the top half of the outfits so that’s what I drew.

Nicole Miller 1

These two sketches both captured Nicole Miller show very well. At this point in the week I felt I had found my groove.

Nicole Miller 2 lo
Son Jung Wan had a lot of sparkles – and I had a sparkly pen – unfortunately sparkles don’t scan well.

Son Jung Wan 1

I had started to look at the negative space around the models more, especially when the models and their clothes are white.

Son Jung Wan 2 lo
Luis Antonio I had no seat, so I sketched with Paper again. The prints looked like pen scribbles, so it was the better choice of media.

luis antonio 1

Figuring out how to use the smudge feature judiciously… it’s something that requires a lighter touch.

luis antonio 2

I had been invited by Brandon Graham of Would You Rock This? to attend an unusual event. CZAR by Cesar Galindo was doing a presentation where about a dozen fashion illustrators would be stationed around the models, sketching.

Cesar Galindo 1 lo

At first, I was unsure I wanted to be in a situation where I was surrounded by others doing the same thing. I’m not a joiner by nature, and the trendiness of live runway sketching gives me mixed feelings. But of course I was curious to see what it was like and see the other illustrators – a mix of young guns I’ve seen at shows before and some older pros. One of the older illustrators told me it was her first fashion show.

Cesar Galindo 2 lo

I had much more time to play around and this negative space sketch I think turned out pretty well.

Cesar Galindo 3 lo

I also did a much bigger beauty sketch for a change.

Cesar Galindo 4 lo
It was an interesting experience to be among so many other artists. They were all great, inspiring with different visions of the same show. But I don’t think I’ll ever do a scene like that again.

Nanette Lepore SS15
I did this one at Nanette Lepore. By this time I had lost my groove somewhat and struggled to keep my spirits in the game. I was beginning to lose faith. I still managed to pull out a few decent sketches, but I can see the loss of urgency cast a shadow over the second half of the portfolio.

Taoray Wang 1 lo
Another negative space sketch at Taoray Wang captured the feathery outline of the skirt.

karen walker 1

Standing at Karen Walker I got my best Paper sketches of the season. Even though I was feeling distracted and antsy – I was dealing with an unexpected personal issue unrelated to fashion – maybe the distraction helped in that situation. Certainly the high quality of the show helped. I liked the swoopy height of the hair and the seventies shapes and colours.

karen walker 2

The only bigger show I got a ticket for was the Diesel Black Gold show. It was at a huge venue and the street style scene outside the show was the best and craziest one I had seen all season. I like crazy street style scenes, they really separate the snobs from the lovers. I met a fellow outside the show who knew Kenneth Paul Block and Joe Eula so I asked him a million questions.

Diesel Black Gold
I managed one good sketch at Diesel Black Gold, and luckily that was the moment when someone at WGSN snapped a picture of me looking very exhausted, doing the drawing. It was a perfect little red and gold dress, I used a gold pen on it, and it made a mess of my hand luckily not the artwork.

skingraft 1

My last show worth mentioning was Skingraft, which I had nailed last season. I was feeling good about it, I got my lucky seat assignment BB1. I asked the girl sitting at the end of the bench if I could sit where she was so I could place my sketches on the floor when I was done. She gave me the most evil cut-eye I’ve ever gotten at fashion week, but she moved anyway. Later I peeked at her phone and she was texting that she was going to punch someone (me??) so I was a bit worried and tried to give her as much space as possible by positioning myself at the very edge of the bench. At the last second before the show the PR wedged a very skinny girl in the toxic space between me and my arch-enemy and I popped off the bench on to the floor with some relief.

Skingraft 2 lo

In my floorbound condition, I felt a bit safer and the sketches turned out well, although some got ruined by sticking to each other, these three survived.

Skingraft 4 lo

And that was it, although there was one more show it was so dreadfully boring and I was so poorly located I didn’t even bother drawing it. It was a discouraging season with an uneven portfolio, which I’ve had before, but this one really left me hungry for something else. It seems like runway sketching is a useful skill I’ve acquired, but the opportunities to do something amazing with it appear to be declining as the competition increases. The best drawings that I did in New York were not part of my runway portfolio - they were of friends who inspire me with their style and personality. I believe that indicates what’s next for me.

funeral for fashion blogs

blogging,thinking — Danielle on September 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm

dead lo

It’s become an awful cliche – that thinkpiece, usually written by a fashion journalist with more than a bit of schadenfreude “fashion blogs are dead“. Just as predictable is the refutation. And for a long time, I scoffed at the notion too. I mean, I had been blogging since 2005, and my fashion blog still had a pulse. True, I had somehow managed to dodge fame and fortune as fashion blogging became colonized by the digital it girl with her clothes and her money and her photographer boyfriend. Let’s face it, fashion bloggers were never out to make fashion critics obsolete, and the fact that fashion writers seemed to think so betrayed a lack of perception and surfeit of self-importance on their part. The true incarnation of the fashion blogger was a post-modern revision of the socialite.

Then I had to stop calling myself a fashion blogger altogether because the popular definition had become too tainted by all the wannabes and arrivistes who wanted to cash in on the popularity game and affiliate programs. What I did – draw and write thoughtfully about a subject that has always fascinated me – was no longer the accepted definition of fashion blogging. I changed my title on my business cards to “fashion illustrator and trend theorist” and continued to blog.

This year, I had to admit my fashion blog was clearly on life support. I had taken on more personal projects as I began to style myself as a “fashion artist”, and between that and my growing business as a freelance fashion illustrator, I had fewer post ideas and time to work on them. Every once in a while I post about a larger project, but gradually Final Fashion has become, at best, a monthly link roundup with the occasional portfolio piece.

Final Fashion is dying, following many of the other blogs I knew and loved. It really does seem like the end of an era – between 2005-2010, the new media revolution created a brief open window in the gated palace of the fashion media that weird kids could slip into. Those of us who did climb through that crack have since redefined what we do to become artists – writers, photographers, performers, illustrators. Being a fashion blogger now means being a sort of human advertisement, subordinate to social media platforms and big brands, and for those of us who were part of the early cohort, that’s not what we ever wanted.

The best thing to do at this point is to give our fashion blogs a proper memorial, like Tommy Ton did last week. They were there for us when we were discovering who we were. They gave us a way to enter our industry without following the route of internships and entry-level jobs. They gave us a way to meet friends who understood us in a way no one else did.

I’m in New York right now, so I’m going to hold a small funeral to honour all the fashion blogs at St. Marks in the Bowery in Manhattan on September 14, 2014 at 2pm. Everyone who has had a fashion blog touch their life in some way is welcome. If you do come, please wear a flower so we can find each other.

24 Designers. 48 Eyes. for The Room

portfolio — Danielle on September 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

danielle meder eyes

I am so thrilled to be included among 23 other talented Canadian visionaries in the fall campaign for The Room. I got to illustrate a fabulous Balmain look on the exquisite Canadian model Meghan Collison, and did something a bit different than I usually do – combined paint with digital printing in a larger, mixed media work.

Thanks so much to Abi Slone, Christopher Sherman, and everyone at The Hudson’s Bay Company!

the room balmainthe room meghan

I was also featured in a video about the project – making a brief appearance at 6:31.

click click – 14-08-14

click click — Danielle on August 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Mick Jagger hair cut

Above, Mick Jagger getting a haircut, unknown origin. Below, Brian Jones getting his hair cut at NBC in New York in 1965, by Gered Mankowitz. Via The RAW Gallery. Did you know the Rolling Stones used to cut each other’s hair? The original rock and roll haircuts were autocuts.

  • rave new world - Rachel R White enters the ever-more virtual rave scene and reveals the it girls who embody it. Crucial.
  • Pizza Rulez - a very clever, good fashion link roundup.
  • RIP Eleanor Kent - a proto-digital textile designer and computer art pioneer I’d never heard of. She’s awesome. Another inspiring discovery from Tumblr – fashion designer Zelda Wynn Valdez, whose distinctive divided treatment of breasts is just as recognizable as Gaultier’s.
  • Jackson Pollack - includes a lot of amazing footage of Pollack working, and a tremendous set of revealing interviews from characters in his life. And if you want another, even sadder - Montgomery Clift.
  • The Art of Hair - inspiring record of inventive hairstyles of Nigerian women in the late 1960s.
  • Reviving a Dyeing Technique - did you know organic indigo dye is a bacterial culture, a living organism? Also for indigo-lovers of reclaimed beauty, Japanese boro.
  • Warhol by Bailey - the fact that I can watch this whenever I want to makes me love everything about 2014. Also, there’s Beaton by Bailey?
  • If the shoe in shoe fits, wear it - “a cross-seasonal, day-to-night, layered footwear option.”

Brian Haircut NBC Studios NYC 1965.

Karma names,

click click – 23-07-14

click click — Danielle on July 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Monette and Mady by Maja Daniels 1

Monette and Mady - very stylish Parisian twins photographed by Maja Daniels, via Kevin.

Monette and Mady by Maja Daniels 2

click click – 30-06-14

click click — Danielle on June 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Photo by Michael Rougier

Another great photo essay from LIFE (and thanks to The Grumpy Owl again), young hipsters in 1960s Japan. Above – Yoko, 17 years old, Tokyo, 1964. Below – “Tokyo Beatles” backstage, 1964.

photo by Michael Rougier 1

Karma yes and yes -

  • Yes and Yes! – I’ve admired Sarah’s hustle on the internet for years, so it means a lot that she recognized mine too. Friends have said this a very revealing interview!
  • Standard Interviews – this Q&A was transcribed from a phone interview, which I think gives it a different quality.

click click – 02-06-13

click click — Danielle on June 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

ROCKSTEADY-Crew-Harlem by Janette Beckman

Discovered the work of Janette Beckman via The Grumpy Owl. Her admirable career has recorded youth culture, musicians, and protest for decades, no production, no pretension. Check out her archives of 1970s London style tribes and 1980s B-Boy scenes.

Go Hard Boys 2013 by Janette Beckman

SS14 menswear paper doll – John Varvatos and Paul Smith

paper dolls — Danielle on May 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm

male model 2 dressed

Seems like I’m finally done paper-dolling the Spring season and it all over. It’s been a busy Spring with a lot of client projects. Somehow I managed to find enough time to finish this 2D guy. His buddy has a compatible wardrobe of Tom Ford and Balmain, if you get them both they can share clothes. I’ve always wanted to do a menswear doll that allowed for a lot of layering and combinations and this is the result. Hope you enjoy his company too – he’s available as a PDF for personal usage for $15 CDN.





male model 2 web paul smith 1 webpaul smith 2 webpaul smith 3 webpaul smith 4 webjohn varvatos 1 webjohn varvatos 2 webjohn varvatos 3 webjohn varvatos 4 web





click click – 25-04-14

click click — Danielle on April 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

vermibus-acid-posters-2

This German street artist, Vermibus, dissolves the faces in fashion advertisements. The effect is disconcerting and yet the images are somehow still effectively beautiful. Via fashionREDEF.

vermibus-acid-posters-1

Karma go get it -

  • Three Word Outfit -delving beyond the surface of clothing to give insight into what makes fashion tick (or tock).”
  • NOW Magazine – features me in a bit about Canadian fashion illustrators.

SS14 Menswear Paper Doll – Balmain and Tom Ford

paper dolls — Danielle on April 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

male model dressed

By request, I’ve created a pair of menswear paper dolls inspired by four SS14 menswear collections. Our first guy has a fresh Spring 2014 wardrobe of Balmain an Tom Ford for every occasion. You can purchase the high resolution PDF for $15 CDN to keep or print for personal use, to play and display.





This doll has a buddy with a compatible wardrobe of Paul Smith and John Varvatos… if you get them both they can trade clothes. One of the main reasons I enjoyed making these dolls is because I wanted to create a very modular, mixy-matchy wardrobe that would be fun to play “stylist” with. I did my best to separate each layer in each outfit. It took a long time, but the results are very satisfying. One way I’ve tried to encourage layering was designing a way for paper dolls to wear open jackets.
male model 1balmain 1balmain 2balmain 3balmain 4balmain 5tom ford 1tom ford 2tom ford 3tom ford 4





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