Where Art, Fashion and Commerce Meet
Because this annual showcase brings together work by some of the world’s most innovative and experimental fashion illustrators all under the very chic roof of The Shop at Bluebird. Fashion illustration has become an art form all of its own, its artists as celebrated as the designers they collaborate with. We talked to three exceptional illustrators from this year’s fair (which includes over 20 different artists) to see what's making them pick up a pencil or paintbrush each morning. From London to Sweden through to New York, we speak with Richard Haines, Frida Wannerberger and Cecilia Carlstedt to learn more about their techniques, their inspirations and their admirable art works.
London based illustrator Frida Wannerberger has a unique style that is mesmerizing and novel. Her distinctive characters are drawn with careful precision and each picture showcases the clothes in an innovative way. “I really try to just draw the looks that I love and that spark something in me. It’s not always possible but those are just the ones that will shine in the end. I think it’s when I can picture how I would feel wearing it, and all the things and places It could unlock for me, then it’s a winner,” Wannerberger tells us.
She is a Central Saint Martins graduate and has worked with brands such as Pringle and Harpers Bazaar. Her aesthetic is subtle and intricate as she manages to capture the style of each garment while creating an imagined story for each women she depicts. “I aim to capture the girl in a moment, as if she has been taken out of wherever she would otherwise be. I hope that the viewer will make up their own thoughts and mysteries of where she has been and where she is going,” Wannerberger explains.
Esteemed Illustrator Richard Haines is a big name in the fashion illustration world. Notable collaborations include Prada and Calvin Klein and his peerless style of capturing menswear is what makes him a man of great craftsmanship. “When I see something I love, I want to draw it - whether it's a person on the street, sitting at a fashion show or a photo of Schiaparelli. I alternate between charcoal pencils and pen and ink, and then add the color with acrylic paint, pastels and colored pencils,” Haines tells us. The world he depicts is full of vibrancy and personality and having previously worked as a designer, it has informed the way he sees fashion and detail. “I love working quickly, and challenge myself to get the line down as quickly as possible - there's an intimacy in that which I really love and feel draws the viewer in.”
A muse to many worldwide, his style captures the colour and youthfulness of New York style and makes the garments he beautifully illustrates look as desirable as they do on the models.
Working with various methods and materials, Cecilia Carlstedt’s style is intuitive and essentially linked to the world of fashion. “I usually use two or more mediums at once. I like the contrast that they play off each other. The combination could be using a ‘flowing, softer' medium such as black ink wash together with something opposite that pops out, in form of a colour,” Carlstedt tells us. Using soft and romantic colours and textures, her illustrations are experimental when compared to traditional fashion illustration. “Fashion illustration to me is an investigation of different aspects and stories from all the different sides of the fashion industry. What triggers me to do an interpretation of a fashion scene varies, but capturing the mood is very important for me and I especially pay attention to the details, the silhouettes and composition,” she explains.
Having spent many years in London and New York, Carlstedt now resides in her hometown of Stockholm and notes some of her favourite Swedish fashion illustrators as Mats Gustavsson, Lovisa Burfitt and Sara Singh. Her work is a great example of what happens when skill meets simplicity.
Fashion Illustration Gallery Art Fair 2 opens tomorrow, Friday 30th June and goes until Sunday 2nd July 2017 at The Shop at Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5UU. Find opening times and more about the fair at fashionillustrationgallery.com.
Text by Kadish Morris