History of Fashion Illustration

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Cedeno 1 Fashion illustration is a subject that Ive been interested in since before I even knew what it was. Since I was young, Ive always been drawing pretty girls in even prettier clothes, but never imagined that is was actually a genre of illustration. Unfortunately, fashion illustration now isnt as popular as it once was in the early eighties and nineties, but it continues to be a passion of mine. This paper is divided into three parts: The Influencers, The Heavyhitters, and the Current Stars. The Influencers are artists whose techniques have been copied by the Heavy hitters, whose magnificent strides in fashion drawing for major fashion houses and designers greatly influenced the Current Stars of Today. As one can see, it is a constant circle of design, influence and technique, and this paper is a discovery of artists that I have come to admire for their work and their dedication to their craft.

The Influencers When thinking of fashion illustration, these artists probably do not come to mind, but their style and techniques have been graciously copied by many of the other artists Ill talk about, so it is necessary to mention them. Although some of these illustrators did not solely focus on fashion, their flair and modern artistic thinking really paved the way for future illustrators.

Charles Dana Gibson Born in 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Charles Dana Gibson is, in my opinion, the first successful fashion illustrator. His creation of the Gibson girl, a beautiful twenty-something female with soft hair piled in a carefully constructed chignon, stiff shirtwaist, and wistful yet mischievous smile created frenzy in the Victorian era and made him a superstar. His bold craftsmanship in the black pen and ink drawings idealized and glorified women, and lots of

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Cedeno 2 people looked for fashion ideas and moral inspiration in the Gibson girl. She was seen as the ideal woman. She could be spunky and sentimental, poised and feminine, yet independent all at the same time. Gibsons drawings were in demand at all of the major magazines such as Harpers Bazaar or the Century, and was fought over by these magazines for exclusive rights for his feisty illustrations. For inspiration, Gibson scored through different English and American magazines for his own ideas, and used many society ladies as models for the Gibson Girls. He even created the Gibson man, a courteous and handsome young man who was always in awe of the Gibson girls beauty. In his illustrations, the women were always portrayed in a dominant position than the men, but the men never really seemed to mind, and never offended anyone. The Gibson girl was seen everywhere on everything. Her face was seen on common things such as stamps and large print books to uncommon things like tablecloths and wallpaper. However, by the 1920s the prim, proper image of the Gibson girl was replaced by the fast and active flapper girl, and the Victorian era faded away. His drawings made a small comeback during the 1940s era of Victorian nostalgia became popular for movies, and still continue to sell well even today. Gibsons illustration really established character in his designs and artwork and had a recognizable style, which I think is important.

Coles Phillips

Coles Phillips was not really a fashion illustrator, but he often drew ads featuring accessories and clothes often worn by the everyday woman. His technique of the fade away line, which emphasized form and shape, made his drawings of active, modern women really shine. His technique has been ripped off too many times to count by artists not just limited to

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Cedeno 3 fashion. The fade away line has become almost essential in fashion illustration in order to communicate and express the line of the body in clothes, and it is a tooI that many illustrators still use today. The minds eye fills in the body, which encourages imagination. Bold flat colors and simple shape also made this Golden Age illustrators technique legendary.

JC Leyendecker JC Leyendecker is the opposite of Charles Dana Gibson, in his subject of drawings, because instead of drawing fashionable ladies, he drew dapper young males for most of his drawings. An illustrator by trade, Leyendecker came from Germany and took New York by storm with his creation of the Arrow Head Man, the mascot for Arrow Head shirt Collar Company. His illustrations featured sophisticated, in control society men who women anted and men wanted to be. Leyendecker image created a brand for Arrow Head, providing more customers who wanted to look fashionable and smart. Along with his Arrow Head men, Leyendecker also drew more than 350 Saturday Evening Post covers, and responsible for cementing our images of Santa Claus and New Years Baby.

Bob Peak Another advertising illustrator, Bob Peak is most known for his movie poster art, hence his title as the father of the modern movie poster. I like to look at his advertising and editorial magazine art for fashion inspiration though because of his bold colors and large use of patterns. There is a strong Coles Phillips influence in all of his work but it is somewhat opposite. Instead of the form of the body being faded into the background, the facial features are faded, and all you see is the clothes or accessories being advertised. Many of his advertisements appeared in four of

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Cedeno 4 the Seven Sisters- magazines that used illustrations frequently from as early as the 1800s to the early 1990s. His collage effect, which was drawing something within another object, is another technique that used by some fashion illustrators and lots of comic artists. Peaks mentality on his art and seeing art as business is a philosophy that I respect and heavily admire, although it is somewhat shallow. Peak drew for money, thought and often demanded that he should get paid a great deal for his talent and hard work. Who wouldnt agree with that?

Ert Russian-born Romain de Tirtoff, or Ert as he was commonly known as, was a flamboyant and foremost costume and stage designer in the Art Deco period. Born in St. Petersburg, Ertes flair for dramatic design was present even as a child. He created his first successful costume design when he was five years old, and his determination to draw fashion surpassed his fathers wishes for him to join the Russian military. Ert moved to Paris in 1912 and gained a contract with Harpers Bazaar, who he continued to draw for, for twenty-two years. What Ert is most reminded fore is his glorious designs for costumes and set designs for the stage, most notably Folies-Bergre in Paris, and George Whites Scandals in New York. Patrons and viewers alike loved his appreciation of the sinuous and lyrical human figure. In his drawings, all of the dancers are in constant movement, and their entire costumes feature plenty of detail. The simple flat shapes of color add to Ertes strong composition, and I love the elegant dramaticism of his pieces.

Ren Grau Born Count Zavagli Ricciardelli delle Caminate in 1910, Rimini, Italy, Rene Graus

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Cedeno 5 career was as grand and lengthy as his name. He had always lived a glamorous life, jet-setting to different posh hotels with his mother when his parents divorced when he was three. Grau wanted to be an architect, but his familys future financial woes prevented him from doing so. He became an a fashion illustrator by the advice and guidance of an Italian magazine editor, and by the age of eighteen, he was already living comfortably by selling his work to different Italian, English and German magazines. When fascism started to rise in Italy during World War I, Grau moved to Paris with his mother, and continued his career there. His work brought him in contact with designers such as Balenciaga and Schiaparelli, and also met Christian Dior, who would continue to be his best patron and business partner for more than fifty years. Le Figaro, a Parisian newspaper Grau was working for, sent him to Cannes during WWII to see the many fashion house subsidiaries that resided there. Grau was bored with the designers that he saw, and was soon elated when Dior asked him to help launch his revolutionary New Look campaign in 1947. The simple yet highly evocative style of Graus was perfect for the moment and set the mood for the campaign, and the advertisements were highly popular. Grau came to live in the United States for a while in 1948, but soon left because he thought there was a lack in artistic expression. Along with illustrations for Dior, Grau also provided illustrations for different opera productions such as Moulin rouge, and advisements for many opera houses. Less is more perfectly describes Graus style, which is direct, uncluttered and supremely simple. He has a trademark of only revealing one body part of his subjects, usually a gloved arm or shapely ankle. These designs of his are wittily erotic and give the onlooker plenty to scope on their own. Spontaneity is another major characteristic of his work, with a casual hastiness that many have tried to mimic. I love his uses of strong colors in the foreground, and deep yet bold colors in the

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Cedeno 6 background, such as using deep browns and blacks and vivid reds. Graus illustration always told a story, his characters and models full of life, and composition bursting with cinematic, dramatic tension. He also uses his architectural background in his framing and composition, giving his work a graphic and modern feel.

The Heavy hitters . From the 1950s to the late eighties, fashion illustration was a classy and effective way to show the mastery and dramatic flair of clothes through illustration. Before the age of fashion models and photography, it was fashion illustration that dominated magazines like Womans Wear Daily, Harpers Ba