Fashion illustration

Fashion illustration

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Fashion Illustration is the communication of fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

 that originates with illustration
An illustration is a displayed visualization form presented as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that is created to elucidate or dictate sensual information by providing a visual representation graphically.- Early history :The earliest forms of illustration were prehistoric...

, drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

 and painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

. It is usually commissioned for reproduction in fashion magazines as one part of an editorial feature or for the purpose of advertising and promoting fashion makers, fashion boutiques and department stores.


Fashion Illustration has been around for nearly 500 years. Ever since clothes have been in existence and there was a need to translate an idea or image into a garment there has been a need for fashion illustration. Not only do fashion illustrations show a representation or design of a garment but also served as a form of art. Fashion illustration shows the presence of hand and is said to be a visual luxury. (Drake, 9).

More recently, there has been a decline of fashion illustration in the late 1930s when Vogue
Vogue (magazine)
Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 18 national and one regional edition by Condé Nast.-History:In 1892 Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States. When he died in 1909, Condé Montrose Nast picked up the magazine and slowly began...

began to replace its celebrated illustrated covers with photographic images. Laird Borrelli, author of Fashion Illustration Now states,
Fashion Illustration has gone from being one of the sole means of fashion communication to having a very minor role. The first photographic cover of Vogue was a watershed in the history of fashion illustration and a watershed mark of its decline. Photographs, no matter how altered or retouched, will always have some association with reality and by association truth. I like to think of them [fashion Illustrations] as prose poems and having more fictional narratives. They are more obviously filtered through an individual vision than photos. Illustration lives on, but in the position of a poor relative to the fashion.

Past illustrators

Paul Iribe
Paul Iribe
Paul Iribe was a French designer, journalist, artist, and fashion illustrator.-Early Life and Career:Paul Iribarnegaray was born in Angoulême, France in 1883, of Basque parentage....

 (1883 – 1935),
Carl 'Eric' Erickson
Carl Erickson (illustrator)
Carl Erickson was a renowned fashion illustrator and advertising artist. He is especially well known for this work for Vogue and Coty cosmetics. From around 1917, he usually signed his work “Eric”, the name he is most known by in the fashion and illustration world.Eric was a hard-working man, a...

 (1891 - 1958),
Christian Bérard
Christian Bérard
Christian Bérard , also known as Bébé, was a French artist, fashion illustrator and designer.Bérard and his lover Boris Kochno, who directed the Ballets Russes and was also co-founder of the Ballet des Champs-Elysées, were one of the most prominent openly homosexual couples in French theater during...

 (1902 – 1949),
Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton
Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton, CBE was an English fashion and portrait photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre...

Rene Gruau
Rene Gruau
René Gruau was a renowned fashion illustrator whose exaggerated portrayal of fashion design through painting has had a lasting effect on the fashion industry...

 (1909- 2004),
Irwin Crosthwait
Irwin Crosthwait
Irwin Crosthwait , was a Canadian painter best known for his role as a fashion illustrator.-Biography:Crosthwait first began his studies as an artist in Montreal at the Sir George Williams College where he studied for three years and followed up with a year at the Pratt Institute...

Lila De Nobili
Lila De Nobili
Lila De Nobili , an Italian fashion illustrator, stage designer, and costume designer. She was noted for her work at Vogue magazine and her collaborations with directors such as Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli....

Kenneth Paul Block
Kenneth Paul Block
Kenneth Paul Block was one of the foremost fashion illustrators of the 20th century. For nearly forty years, he was an in-house artist for Fairchild Publications, owner of Women's Wear Daily, the garment industry trade paper, and its offshoot, W magazine...

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

Antonio Lopez
Antonio Lopez (illustrator)
Antonio Lopez was a fashion illustrator whose work appeared in such publications as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Interview and The New York Times. Several books collecting his illustrations have been published...

Joel Resnicoff
Joel Resnicoff
Joel Hirsch Resnicoff was an American artist and fashion illustrator, who incorporated expressionistic art into commercial fashion illustrations, stating his belief that "commercial art is the art of the century." His work did not fit easily into any one category, and "the figures in his...


Present illustrators

Those working today include, Francois Berthoud, Mats Gustafson, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, David Downton
David Downton
David Downton is a renowned fashion illustrator. He is well known for his work for Vogue.-Biography:David Downton was born in 1959 in Kent, England. He studied at Canterbury and Wolverhampton .In 1984 he moved to Brighton and began his illustration career...

, Tanya Ling, Ruben Toledo, Julie Verhoven, Jennifer Lilya and Kime Buzzelli. Between them these artists have made work for virtually every major international fashion magazine as well as a myriad of fashion businesses including Barneys
Barneys New York
Barneys New York is a chain of luxury department stores headquartered in New York City. The chain owns large stores in New York City, Beverly Hills, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Scottsdale, and smaller stores in other locations across the United States.Brands sold include...

, Selfridges
Selfridges, AKA Selfridges & Co, is a chain of high end department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK and was opened on 15 March 1909.More recently, three other stores have been...

, Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Malletier – commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton , or shortened to LV – is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label is well known for its LV monogram, which is featured on most products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes,...

, Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf is an Amsterdam-based fashion house. The company was founded in 1993 by designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren .- History :...

, Chanel
Chanel S.A. is a French fashion house founded by the couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, well established in haute couture, specializing in luxury goods . She gained the name "Coco" while maintaining a career as a singer at a café in France...

 and Burberry
Burberry Group plc is a British luxury fashion house, manufacturing clothing, fragrance, and fashion accessories. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry is most famous for its iconic trench coat, which was invented by founder Thomas Burberry...


Further reading

  • " Le Premier siècle de René Gruau " by Sylvie Nissen & Vincent Leret. Published by Thalia Edition Paris. 2009. ISBN 978-2-35278-058-8
  • An Illustrated History of Fashion: 500 Years of Fashion Illustration, by Alice Mackrell. Published by Costume & Fashion Press, 1997. ISBN 0896762165.
  • Fashion Illustration Next, by Laird Borrelli. Published by Chronicle Books, 2004. ISBN 0811845737.
  • New Fashion Illustration, by Martin Dawber. Published by Batsford, 2005. ISBN 0713489618.
  • Fashion Illustrator, by Bethan Morris. Published by Laurence King Publishing, 2006. ISBN 185669447X.
  • 100 Years of Fashion Illustration,, by Cally Blackman. Published by Laurence King Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1856694623.
  • Essential Fashion Illustration: Details. , by Maite Lafuente. Published by Rockport Publishers, 2007. ISBN 1592533310.

External links