Tuesday, 19 October 2010

An Optical Illustration.

3 weeks down. 3 to go.

I've changed my tune. Despite my consistent frustration at not being able to do the basics, aka walk, I've found that in my annoyance, appreciation is born.

I've a Business plan. I won't bore with the details, but my passion, optimism & dedication is ever-present. The site will be live around December. I've began to write for a few websites (the favourite being Tout Nouveau), alleviating some stress & allowing my mind to wander, freeing some pent-up annoyance at not dedicating time to ones passions; writing, reading and the arts. By doing just the latter.

It's energising to know you 'know' about the industry, even if it is only scratching the creative surface; what's in Vogue, who's out of vogue, who is avant-garde and what'll do the worst damage to my credit card ... that auld malarkey. I never want to stop learning, which sounds ridiculously geek-like, now ironically chic-like.

My University course regarded itself as an ' Fashion Arts Degree' but I never felt pushed to be creative artistically, not in a drawing sense (cannot draw a stick man), but in a way that I never gained a true appreciation for how the industry got to where it is today. I've learnt that I'll never be in the know all the time, but that's the beauty of discovery. The thrill of the new.

When I was in NY, I was mesmerised by the ambience, the entirety of the city. It truly is the jack of all trades and master of all. Incomparable. Indescribable. I saw fashion via exhibitions, shows, stalls, the streets, galleries - the place oozed with it, intentional or not.

The once place I still can't get off my mind, is Argosy Book Store. Specialising in rare books prints and maps, it is heaven. Tucked away in 116 East 59th Street, I almost walked past it to get to Bergdorf Goodman, but a flash of intense purple stole a gaze from my transfixion on my destination, a nonchalant brush stroke held my attention, and a recognisable brand typography drew me towards the otherwise run-of the-mill doorway.

Marc Boahn for Chrisitan Dior.
Spectacular illustration.
Accompanied by the picture of Isabelle Adjani at the launch gala for 'Poison' (above).

I intake air quickly. I dash. I'm stopped.

As the door opens (painfully) slowly I am ushered into a lift, manned by a bookish boy, asking where he should shove me out (just the impression I got). I say "the fashion ..." "illustration drawings" he interjected. Was my intention that visible?

2nd floor, I waltzed with the 'olde world maps', was aghast at the autograph collection, felt like I had entered another lifetime, one full of mystery and regalities, anticipating a suit of armour or an American indian savage to leap from the abundance vivid prints. I was visually stumped.

A girl gravitated towards me. With a glint in her eye, she knew what I had come for.

Led to a leather masterpiece I was presented with over 20 files, full of original fashion illustrations, from 1925 until 1999, ordered chronologically, each one taking my breath away.

If elation were to have an image next to it in the dictionary, surely my face would be slapped on it.

Givenchy, Dior, Lacroix, YSL, Lanvin, Balenciaga, the whole kit and kaboodle.

All stamped&numbered, with pieces of material attached and a photo of the outfit on the catwalk. Never have I held so much awe in my being whilst maintaining silence.

2 hours ensued. The price tags were phenomenal, though not extreme. But in my obvious desperation to own a drop of the nectar, the assistant noted there were photocopies, for around a quarter of the price.


Givenchy, 1986 catwalk.

Shoulder pads - check
Lace - check
Mary Janes - check
That eighties fabulous vibe - check

As I delved into the depths of Vogue's site earlier, I came across the Art in Fashion section. &it happened again, that quickening of breath and what I assume a menopausal flush feels like.

With the blurb;

'Before fashion photography, illustrators were integral to the industry - their work featured throughout the best magazines. Today, fashion illustrations appeal to collectors as art in their own right. Our exclusive collaboration with Fashion Illustration Gallery makes them available to buy here.'

Good golly miss molly, you hit the nail on the head. Indeed, whilst I'm supposed to be researching for my own website, I've been transfixed by the wonder of Vogue. Again. These jewels are windows into artistic souls, I need.

I've sat for hours over the years, pouring over books of fashion illustration. I've taken classes. I've interviewed students. Still I cannot seem to get a grip of the art, just an appreciation and intense thirst to develop my knowledge more

Perhaps my student studies weren't all that wasted.

Below is my favourite from the current Vogue gallery, it's by Jean-Philippe Delhomme, and it's from A/W 08 Dries. It's magical.

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