August 29 2014

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A Good Time For Fashion Illustration?


Now on view at the Society of Illustrators, in association with the Leslie/Lohman Gay Arts Foundation, The Line of Fashion pays tribute to some of the most venerable names in illustration, including Antonio Lopez (more on him in our Jerry Hall piece), Kenneth Paul Block, and René Bouché. Spanning nearly a century of work, the group exhibition focuses primarily on the medium’s heyday—the fifties, sixties, and seventies—a fact not lost on participant Michael Vollbracht. “It’s still necessary to promote fashion illustration,” the ex-Bill Blass designer explained at Friday evening’s launch. “It is a dying art, I’m sorry to say.” While photography may have supplanted drawing in print adverts and fashion spreads, fiscally speaking at least, Vollbracht thinks it might be in a couple of his former employers’ best interests to revert back to the old model. “I’m very surprised that with the terrible downturn of the economy more stores like Bendel’s and Bloomingdale’s and Saks don’t use fashion illustrators,” he said. “If you have no money to pay that model and no money to pay Steven Meisel…”

The Line of Fashion, through May 2 at the Society of Illustrators, 128 E. 63rd St., NYC.

Photo: Courtesy of the Wally Finley Galleries



  1. loveismontreal says:

    i think using drawings and illustrations in adverts is always a nice change

  2. JohnAgee says:

    I was inspired by many things to become a designer, not least by the gorgeous work of Steven Stipleman and Kenneth Paul Block that used to grace the pages of W (remember when it was that gorgeous newspaper, BEFORE they started putting Jennifer Aniston on every other cover?) Mr. Vollbracht’s comment about stores returning to illustration as a means of cost-saving is an interesting one, but I’m afraid our small-minded, digital, attention-deficit world is unwilling and unequipped to understand the beauty and nuance of this lovely artform. Would that it were not so…..

  3. Karensantry says:

    please see Martin Dawbers’ THE BIG BOOK OF FASHION ILLUSTRATION for international view of fashion illustrators currently working. See Karen Santry cover art for this book in show! Also Laird Borelli’has many great books featuring the international Fashion Illustration which is also referred to as FASHION LIFE STYLE. Fashion Illustration is a major at the FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Line of Fashion a real inspiration Kudos to Robert Richards for organizing it. Great talent! Come wed to Models and the Fashion Illustrator Panel 6:30! Professor Santry FIT

  4. paperfashion says:

    I agree, fashion illustration is sadly a dying art. There is so much to it that you can never achieve through the computer. Mistakes and water dripping across a page, can really make an illustration something unique and inspirational. I wish companies still relied on illustrators to create a look and influence design. I will never give it up.

Dept. of Culture