Undeniably connected to the fashion industry, and undeniably a work of art, illustration crosses conventional categories. George Barbier first set the bar for excellence in fashion illustration during the 1920’s.
George Barbier, La Vie Parisienne, 1921
Erté, Symphony in Black, original 1930's, reprinted 1983
Erté, Alphabet Letter "W", 1928
Andy Warhol's famous work for I. Miller shoes and below, he also worked for Harper's Bazaar.
I. Miller, 1958
Harper's Bazaar, late 1950's
Warhol's illustration and commercial consciousness influenced his later work, especially seen in this Polaroid.
Warhol, Polaroid, 1981
Traditionally, designers have also created their own illustrations.
Lagerfeld for Chanel in 2005 and YSL from the 1960's,
Established in the 1960's, Kenneth Paul Block was the in house illustrator of Fairchild/WWD. The artist also worked with upscale retailers Bonwit Teller, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf’s and has illustrated many socialites.
Babe Paley, 1964
Patrick Nagel had a unique color block style that helped him rise to popularity in the 1970's and continued until his death in 1984.
Popular as a painter, Alex Katz is sometimes considered by the fashion world for his flat graphic style and presentation of clothing. Read my interview with Katz here.
Katz, Ada, 1960
Katz, Beach Sandles, 1987
Prada & Jil Sander, 2006
Fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo (husband of designer Isabel) works frequently with Nordstom. Below his illustrations were used as a backdrop in Spring 2009 and with a Prada shoe for Harper's Bazaar.
Mikael Kangas is a young illustrator who also creates ad campaigns. Below 2005 sketches for McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.