Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friday's Five: Fashion Illustrators

There is absolutely nothing better than going to a great museum exhibit and getting some much needed inspiration. Attending a lecture by people I was in awe of and seeing them in "real-life" with incredible personalities, insight and advice was an invaluable experience. Wednesday night The Society of Illustrators hosted a panel of fashion illustrators and models. It turned into a conversation between the panelists about the importance of fashion illustration, the relationship between photography and fashion illustration and the bias museums and people have of fine art over illustration. They all shared so much about the industry, how it's changed, and how current fashion illustrators are the hope for the future. In the fashion and art industry this is a very refreshing attitude!Fashion illustrator, curator of the show, and clearly sharp dresser, Robert Richards talked about photography losing its credibility with everything being photoshopped to death, "if it's going to be a fantasy, then come to us!"

Anna Bayle, the 1st Asian supermodel called " the face of the 80s" for good reason, holds an illustration of herself done by Alvaro for Vogue China. Pictures from top right, Alvaros illustration, editorial tears, all via Anna's website Anna in white gown, via

Now for your installment of Friday's Five: Fashion Illustrators

1. Bil Donovan -this man (below, hand closet to the wall) is a phenomenal illustrator. How phenomenal? He just signed a year long contract to be Christian Dior Beauty's in house artist. Donovan has worked with absolutely everyone and his website is gorgeous, so do not miss!

All photos were taken at the show, or via Society of Illustrators

2. Karen Santry -I took notes about the panelists before it all started, and she ran in late, in the most amazing outfit, 4" heels, and huge black felt fan hat, and I just wrote, "FABULOUS!" She works as a professor at FIT and I would do anything to take a class with her. Do yourself a huge favor and check out this article in the New York Times, featuring more of her work and her artists in residence studio apartment!

This book always pops up on my Amazon recommendations: Big Book of Fashion Illustration: A Sourcebook of Contemporary Illustration. Guess who did the cover? Karen, of course.

See? it's 3-d! so cool.

3. Elena Ambotaite- Gorgeous. Blonde. Dimples. Model. Wait no, illustrator! Actually both. She was charming and insightful about the work, having seen both sides. She 's modeled for Donovan before, too.

Illustration via

4. Alvaro- Yes, he goes by one name, because he's that good. His story touched me, as a a little boy growing up in the Bronx, he saw Antonio Lopez's work, one of the illustration greats, and was determined to meet him. He did, and worked with and learned from him for years, until Antonio's death in 1987. Alvaro's message was that you can do anything you dream and put your mind to, and the way he was so emotional and passionate about his and the other illustrators' work, was really touching.

Alvaro and Karen Santry at the opening reception. Picture via Society of Illustrators

1st ever illustrated Vibe cover by Alvaro

5. Last but so not least, the late Antonio Lopez- I think it's very sad that fashion illustration is not a well known art form, because people miss out on beautiful work such as his. Karen had a hilarious story about living in NY in the 80s and going to Union Square, where Antonio lived, and literally digging through the trash for discarded illustrations! she said her and her friends would pin these up as inspiration. He had so many different styles, you can tell he was always experimenting and trying new things.

Illustrations for collage via,,, and


  1. Wow these are wonderful and soo pretty! I LOVE the 3-d amazingly cool! Thank you for sharing! Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to you!

  2. Awesome! I'm sorry to have missed the show.

    Karen Santry is a teacher of mine and personal hero. I took her class at FIT and it truly was unbelievable. Thanks for posting!

  3. Great piece. I'd like to add one of my favorite fashion illustrator's I've just posted, Richard Haines.