I have to start off with a confession, for the first time in four years, I am not live sketching any fashion weeks this season! I used to sketch anything I could get into and hustle for invites, but this season I just found my interests were elsewhere. I still love live sketching runway shows, but I feel an itch to diversify myself creatively and start expanding into other areas (street style, print design, packaging design etc.). Also generally I'm just busier work-wise, (which is great as a freelancer) but sadly paid work has to trump passion projects, which fashion weeks have always been for me.
That being said, everyone needs a break from client work, so I still find myself wanting to sketch runway looks in my free time. I may not be physically there, but thankfully with social media I've got more than enough reference to work off of. Sketching from photographs is a lot different than live, mostly just because I take more time. I take about 10-15 minutes to do these, instead of less than 5. The extra time allows me to be more careful with the choices I make, from what looks I want to draw, to what brushes I want to use, or how I want to lay out my composition. The lack of spontaneity and instinctual choices is made up for by a more refined process. I still want to keep these sketches with a gestural quality and a time constraint, but I've found that the occasional switch in my process keeps me fresh and challenged. I like to avoid getting into habits and formulas with my work if I can, nothing makes me lose motivation more than making things too automatic. I'm a very logical thinker and I approach my art the same way, each piece is a new puzzle to think through. Thoughtfully done art is always more successful in my opinion.
So I decided to start a series of blog posts, one covering each of the 4 major fashion weeks, New York, London, Milan and Paris, and my picks for what collections I enjoyed the most, accompanied by sketches. I like to think of this as an illustrator's perspective to fashion because my taste definitely bends towards what I think makes good art primarily, fashion is second. Fashion month is about to wrap up in another week, but I'm posting the sketches from each week separately over the next couple of weeks so make sure to come back to check out the rest.
So here we have my take on New York Fashion Week:
This is always a go-to pick for me. I love this designer every season, it's consistently bright and bohemian, and never goes too off brand by being trendy. I picked the final look in the show to sketch, it's very feminine, a beautiful colour palette, has a sort of metallic mint base to it. Remember when mint was everywhere a few years ago and then completely died out? I feel I haven't seen it much recently, so looks like enough time has passed (at least for me) to appreciate it again. My favourite colour tends to be one I haven't seen in awhile (some form of art specific A.D.D.?), so at least for the 10 minutes I spent on this, I'm all about mint.
This was definitely a lot more of a wearable collection then a lot of what's coming out lately. Fashion has gone from minimal to seriously "extra", that sometimes it's the more elegant, simpler pieces that stand out to me. This look specifically stood out as an example, it's current with it's large print and fur jacket but doesn't cross the line into ugly-pretty territory. I like little variety in my subject matter, not everything needs to be a giant statement.
Here's where things just get over the top, which is to be expected from Jeremy Scott. But, if someone makes a sci-fi themed collection, obviously you sketch it.
This whole collection is adorable! Candy colours, bright prints and feminine silhouettes, it's a playful take on classic looks. I debated sketching a few of the looks, but opted to save them for potential watercolour pieces at a later date.
Oscar de la Renta
I live sketched Oscar de la Renta gowns a few years ago at a trunk show, and it gave me such a heightened appreciation for the brand. They pieces are so well crafted and thought out. There were a lot of looks I could have picked out, but I opted for a pink one because apparently that's what I'm doing for all these recent sketches (see above). I suppose I haven't been mixing things up as much as I thought, but a colour coordinated Instagram feed is never a bad thing.
Loved this collection as an ensemble together. The colour palette is beautiful, especially the red and purple tones. I wanted to sketch more than one look for this show because I felt it really worked best as a whole. Definitely one of my favourite sketches so far, the draping of the garments made for a lot of movement in the sketch.
Another choice based on colour, and one I couldn't sketch only one of. Seeing as it is the Fall Collections coming out, the jewel tones, satin and velvet felt so appropriate. Also the variety in textures allowed for me to play around with a few different brushes on these ones.
This was a particularly fun collection, the unifying factor seemed to be volume and not colour, which made for a large variety of unique pieces to pick from. I loved the playful colours of this look though, combined with a sophisticated silhouette. This is one of my favourite of all the sketches I've done this season, also was one of the quickest, taking around 7 minutes.
And finally, Marc Jacobs. Which upon first glance of the collection, I thought it was awful. Way too much of a Darkwing Duck reference with the big black hats. However, while not a wearable collection in my books, when seen as a whole, I found it had a strange beauty. The voluminous coats and solid colours made for an interesting composition when juxtaposed against each other. It made for a cool drawing that ventures off of my usual feminine aesthetic.
Let me know in the comments if you think there's any sketch-worthy collections I missed! Stay tuned for London Fashion Week sketches next.