In the fashion business, the ability to convey clothing through art on paper is extremely important. How else does one get an idea from the mind of the designer to the needle of the seamstress? Putting dresses on paper is quite a skilled talent, requiring a knowledge of how much detail is enough. This talent isn't just for designers either. The job of a fashion illustrator is to dedicate their artistic skills to rendering the glitz, glamour, and gild of the sartorial world in ads and publications so that Conde Nast doesn't have to shell out boatloads of cash for photoshoots every time they want to show you something. Well, also, the illustrations are completely gorgeous works of art and are a nice, occassional break from envy-inducing supermodels. Fashion Illustration runs the gamut from super souped-up (think collages of fabric, glitter, flourecent colors) to paired down (think, well, Mats Gustafson).
Mats Gustafson was born in Sweden in 1951, but New York can now call him its own. He studied costume design at the Scandinavian Drama Institute and had his first illustration published in British Vogue in 1978. He soon moved to New York and started contributing to Interview when it was under the guidance of Andy Warhol and then he hit American Vogue. Now he works for many designers and fashion houses through both editorial and ad campaigns.
A face in ten lines or less.
A portrait of Linda Evangelista.
Work for Tiffany.
The thing about his work is just how much it conveys with just so little. Some whispers of watercolor perfectly shape an iconic Yamamoto ensemble, some cuts of white paper instantly become a perfectly pleated, plisse dress. The simplicity of his work is remarkable, and it creates a mood that induces just as much envy in me as the photoshoots dripping with supermodels. I want to be a Gustafson; I want to be that sophisticated, elegant, and chic.