We saw the first fashion periodicals and the heyday of the fashion plate in the 19th century. The work of fashion illustrators such as René Bouché, Paul Iribe, Erté, and Georges Lepape became coveted in the years to follow. Today, we see primarily fashion photography in magazines and advertisements, but fashion illustration remains an important facet of the industry. Magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and Vanity Fair often use the work of fashion illustrators and our favorite brands often commission works to be used in campaigns. The client lists of some of the artists featured below include Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Masion Martin Margiela, to name a few.
The Fashion Illustration Gallery (FIG) was founded in 2007 to help promote the work of fashion illustrators. Although original fashion illustrations are works of art in their own right, once reproduced, these works were often forgotten or hidden away in a studio drawer. The FIG has and is working to change that. They sell and promote the work of an array of artists living and working today, but also represent some of the most influential fashion illustrators in history, such as René Grau, Chirstian Bérard, and Andy Warhol. Through the FIGAF (Fashion Illustration Gallery Art Fair), the FIG brings together the work of multiple artists making waves in the world of fashion illustration.
Below are four of our favorite artists who have worked with the FIG.
Frida Wannerberger is a European artist known for her ethereal illustrations. Her girls draw you into their world, one that is distinctly Frida. When she illustrates a designer's work, it becomes something completely new. Wannerberger works full time as an artist, besides working one day per week in a bookshop. She finds inspiration everywhere, especially in things that she feels very removed from. She counts herself lucky for being able to spend her days pursuing a career she loves, something most creatives can relate to.
Gill Button is a London-based artist, characterized by her playful, painterly hand. Her client lists boasts the likes of Vogue, Assouline, and Dries van Noten. Her subjects are not perfectly painted or airbrushed, but instead Button celebrates imperfections and asymmetry. She brings her own glamour to already distinctive subjects. In a discussion of fashion as art, she told us that yes, fashion is art to her, but not just the fashion shows and the work of designers. It's also found in people on the street, and observing "the way some people take the time in presenting themselves with so much creativity".
Cecilia Carlstedt has worked in New York, London, and Stockholm, where she is currently based. Her work has an experimental flair, combining different techniques such as ink, screen printing, and collage; the fluidity in her artwork is unparalleled. Her work is captivating in an almost minimalist way, but when studied, there is nothing minimal about it.
Aurore de la Morinerie is a French artist based in Paris, France. Her work is fluid and floats across the paper. Even her monotypes, which are inherently graphic, have a certain flow to them, her blotches of ink still retaining a liquid quality. As an illustrator, her favorite aspect of her work is the range of themes she is able to explore, but as an artist, she enjoys exploring expression and new techniques. Her personal aesthetic is clear, with warm, neutral tones throughout her body of work.
Words by Layne Blake