Wednesday, 11 May 2011

'Drawing Fashion.'

Way back in January, I visited the Design Museum in London.
I had heard that there was an exhibition on, named 'Drawing Fashion.'
Of course, I immediatley wanted to go so booked a train ticket and went down for my birthday.
It is such a lovely building, that is the first thing you notice... so white and clean.
Sadly, I couldn't take any photographs of the work there, but I did purchase the book which is full of the works there.
When I went up to the exhibition, I felt so excited as I havn't been able to find many exhibitions that are purley fashion illustration based, so was full of joy as I entered the white gallery which had frames upon frames of wonderful illustrations.
The first fashion illustrations that were on display, were by the artists in the Art Decco period.
Georges Lepape was the first.
Truth be told, I am not a great admirer of his work, but once infront of the framed work, one cannot but admirer the line and brush strokes that Lapape used.
His images are so busy, full of life and colour that one has to find the beauty in them.
One of the other artists from that same period, is Erte.
The images that were there, were very simple and just consentrating on the figure.
If I had to pick my favourites, it would be the sinple images of a figure, in the centre of the page, done on plain paper. They are very detailed so he doesn't need anything occuping the space around them.
Moving through the exhibition, one comes to the 1930s/1940s section.
I was looking forward to this bit as the 1940s are one of my favourite eras. I adore the shape and style of the clothes in this decade and one cannot forget the Second World War that was happening at the time, so it made women 'make do and ment' their clothes, and they certainly came up with some lovely outfits.
My favourite artist from this decade is Bernard Blossac.
To see his works up infront of you takes your breath away! He uses rather simple, sketchy lines and finishes the figures off by adding a wash of watercolour.
Even though the forties was a dark time, Blossac makes that era look elegant and rich, just by his figures of women.
The images are so elegant and delicate that I could not take my eyes away from them. I think I was at his part of the exhibition for about half an hour!
The next part was the 1960s.
(The 1950s artists were still Blossac and others that I have mentioned.)
The main artist/illustrator that occupied this era was Antonio. His style changes with time.
The first images were done in charcoal, just black and white, as well as using the smudges by working it into the clothing. I have to say that these were my favourite of his as there is a lot of elegance and grace within them...
His work through the sixties was wonderful... whether he uses charcoal, watercolour or pen. But as it got to the 1980s, that is when Antonio didn't suit my taste.
The women are very 'boxy.' A sudden change to his slim and delicate sixties figures. I do suppose that he changed with time and of course that is what everyone wore during that time.
Coming to my 2 favourite fashion artists now.
I stood with my eyes wide open at the works of Mats Gustafson and Francois Berthoud.
These two illustrators have been in my mind since this visit and have, and will continue to be, a very big inspiration to me and my work.
Mats Gustafson uses watercolour. He uses it in simple ways, with limited colour and uses shape quite remarkably.
(I have written a post on him if anyone wants to see a few selections of work.)
Francois Berthoud is a little different. He works on enamel and creates monotype.
I do prefer his enamel works, just by how he uses the black. It looks like drips of paint and is a wonderful way to create hair on his figures.

All in all, I am so very glad that I had the opportunity to visit this exhibition. The timing came at a great time for me as I was in need to be inspired!

I was definitely inspired!

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