It may be seen as a fickle industry, but while others have flippantly dropped the humble pen and paper in favour of photography, the traditional technique has not only endured but flourished in fashion circles. In an ode to fashion illustrations from past to present, the Design Museum is playing host to 'Drawing Fashion', a collection of fashion illustrations throughout the 20th and 21st century.
Co-curated by fashion historian and writer Colin McDowell and pieced together over 30 years by fashion drawings expert Joelle Chariau of Munich's Galerie Bartsch & Chariau, the exhibition charts the changing tides of cultural perceptions towards fashion illustration through the decades, which drastically changed with the onset of photography. Once used as an advertising tool for fashion houses to showcase the latest collections and how they should have been worn, these illustrations have gradually shifted to becoming an important part of a fashion house's brand history and representation.
Illustrations on display from the broad range of fashion houses will move through Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Pop art and into the present, supported by film clips, music and photography relevant during the past century. Important artists from past decades such as Lepape, Gruau, Antonio, and the present, such as Francois Berthoud, will be featured.
Taking inspiration from the show's drawings, the exhibition graphics have been done by London graphics agency 'A Practice for Everyday Life', who revived the vintage layouts, applying them to the new posters and invitations in commemoration of the exhibition.
The exhibition will also be accompanied by a series of talks, kicking off with the 'Drawing Fashion Debate' which calls on discussions from Colin McDowell, Joelle Chariau, Francois Berthoud, Howard Tangye and William Ling.