Last time I posted about some of my favourite fashion illustrators, some of you commented that you did not know of them and you enjoyed learning more about them. That is all the encouragement I needed to post another set of great fashion illustrators – there are so many worth mentioning.
At the library I picked up 100 Years of Fashion Illustration100 Years of Fashion Illustration which is an excellent survey of modern fashion drawings. It disproves my erroneous notion that there were not many illustrators in the sixties and seventies too. This book is recommended without hesitation, even if the captions sometimes leave something to be desired, the selection of drawings is broad and well edited.
Thayaht brought cubistic influence to fashion illustration, most famously rendering Madeleine Vionnet’s incredible work. His work is tight and precise, and yet never static. The careful compositions create movement and interest with accurate use of colour, line and pattern. Thayaht is the ultimate modern fashion illustrator, though his work was created almost a century ago.
Julie Verhoeven‘s sensual raunchiness is a great deal more postmodern. Using pen and ink and a photocopy machine her images retain the smudges of her hand and express a very specific character. They also tend to be more abstract than descriptive when it comes to that actual element of fashion as clothing. Verhoeven’s illustrations tend to be on clothing and accessories rather than of clothing and accessories. Yet she is also a designer for Mulberry and others, so she must know how to dress figures as well – it seems that with her drawings, she prefers not to take fashion illustration too literally.
Gladys Perint Palmer is the master of the quick and clever runway illustration. Her book, Fashion People, is a must read for… er, fashion people. It is like getting notes passed to you from the front row. While I make every effort to be ably to sketch on my knee as fast as GPP, her style of wit is beyond my own abilities. Certainly GPP shows that the best fashion illustration requires the skill to execute and express, but even more importantly it requires character and a point of view.
I will be taking my sketchbook to L’Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto soon and attempting to pass you my own notes from the (third or fourth) row. I am no GPP, but runway illustration is every bit as fun as she makes it look.
The 20th century’s greatest fashion illustrator is without a doubt Rene Gruau. His distinctive outline, elegant figures and inventive compositions influence and inspire all of us.