A renaissance of fashion illustration | Euronews



Gray Modern & Contemporary Art (Gray MCA) was founded by husband and wife team Ashley and Connie Gray, and is most easily associated with its annual fashion illustration exhibition, Drawing of Style, held at Gallery 8 in St. James’s during London Fashion Week. This year, however, for the first time, the exhibition will move to the recently opened Gray MCA Gallery in Bath until the end of November.

The expansion of the exhibition couldn’t come at a more important time as Connie, who has curated Drawing on Style since 2014, believes there are significant changes on the horizon for the genre. “Fashion illustration is making a serious comeback. Connie said.

“Twenty years ago you hardly saw any fashion illustrations, but that’s gradually changing as publishers look for something new to grab attention. There are some extraordinarily talented illustrators working right now who are bringing it back into fashion in a big way. ” she explains.

The photographs of Rihanna from Nick Knight that adorn the cover of British Vogue’s September 2018 issue were captured by an Instagram fashion illustration collective called The unique illustration. The group announces flash mobs, where illustrators are invited to produce their own version of a particular piece and then post it on Instagram at the same time on the same day. Rihanna’s cover was particularly fruitful, inspiring a variety of bright and beautiful images.

Bil Donovan, an American illustrator whose work appears in this year’s Drawing on Style exhibition, agrees with Connie’s prediction. He believes the advent of social media has drawn a new audience to the genre; Donovan, however, who is in his 60s, was drawn to his fascination with Hollywood movie fashion. Currently Christian Dior’s artist in residence, he describes his style as “selective and minimal, pushing abstraction through a selection of positive and negative forms played against line, form, color and intuition”.

“The fashion illustration market was monopolized by photography in the editorial and advertising markets in the early 1980s,” says Donovan. “Sometimes an illustration adorned an editorial or appeared like a department store advertisement in the New York Times, but those illustrations have all but disappeared. Today, a kind of renaissance has taken place via Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, promoting and strengthening the appreciation and market for fashion illustration. he keeps on.

Jason Brooks, also included in this year’s line-up, claims a more graphic style: “it has a slightly edgy and glamorous quality, I like to draw strong women and men. he says. “My work is also known to be experimental in terms of integrating digital technology as well as more traditional media. Despite his penchant for digital imaging, Brooks doubts the benefits of social media within the industry.

“When I started as a fashion illustrator in the 90s, I felt like a vast blue ocean, especially since I was one of the pioneers of illustrating digital mode. Brooks said. “Social media has leveled the playing field in some ways, as illustrators no longer need to appear in magazines or advertisements for their work to be seen by thousands of people. Right now, popularity and artistry is often a part of the social media space, but I think good work and brilliant design always stand out, and there will always be those who see beyond the online and entertainment marketing and are looking for more sustainable quality. he keeps on.

The number of new illustrators may be increasing, but the masters once again have a prominent place in the exhibition this year. A last minute addition is a piece by Carl Eric Erickson who, due to his era-pioneering style of placing models in everyday scenarios, is arguably the most influential fashion illustrator of the 20th century. . The work in question was published by US Vogue in 1933 and is titled “The Pink of Perfection”: it depicts a couple in evening dress framed by an ink blue moonlight, the woman is wearing a pink couture dress. Lucien Lelong. Connie had to put the printing of this year’s catalog on hold just so it could be included.

“Each exhibit takes at least two years to put together and is a wonderful journey of discovery – early in the process I never know who will be included although I work a lot with a ‘wish list’.” “It can be a roller coaster of emotions when I discover the work of great masters who worked in the golden age of fashion illustration in the 20th century. I never dreamed two years ago that I could have found this original work of art even if I was familiar with the image.

“Works of art are not only beautiful works of art in their own right, but also historically so important. You can see the influences of the era in everything from the dress, hair, setting, style and medium the artist uses. Connie continues.

Another major draw of the show is a series of never-before-seen illustrations by famous fashion commentator Colin McDowell: the former senior fashion editor for the Sunday Times would sketch the fashion shows as his own personal notes.

“I like the fact that artists weren’t valuable. They often used cheaper paper and placed their coffee cup on the edge. You can see their thought process through their line and details. All of this adds to the overall history of the artwork and brings them to life rather than being formal portraits. Connie said.

“With illustration, you have a very simple but very personal relationship between the artist, the model and the fashion. It comes from the heart and, therefore, has a freedom and power that I don’t think is so organic in fashion photography. She keeps.

“Without a doubt, we are going to see more and more fashion illustrations on the pages of fashion magazines and newspapers. My dream is to see a fashion editor have the courage to put fashion illustration back on a cover. I believe there will be a time in the not-so-distant future when fashion illustration will once again become the norm. “

Drawing on Style 2018, September 14-21, 2018, Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street St James’s, London, SW1Y 6BD. Drawing on Style will be transferred to Gray MCA in Bath from October 8 to November 30, 2018, Gray MCA, 5 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath, BA1 2LP.

Writer: Marianne Dick


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