I guess of all the styles out there on the Internet – a lot of (in my view) samey over glamourised digital – what I really like are the black and white ink with a bit of red Goth Beardsley look, Zen charcoal/ink, puppet doll and scruffy punk. In particular:
At the beginning of the century fashions continued to be corseted with an exaggerated S-shaped figure. This can be seen in the oppulent illustrations from House of Paquin.
Florrie Westwood and Madeleine Vermont
A period of rapid change. Styles start to become more natural,more practical, less restrictive clothing. During the early years of the 1910s, designers adopted a new approach focussed on fluidity, and started to promote the use of lighter and softer fabrics in order to make their creations increasingly free flowing.
The biggest changes were during the First World War as women were called into factories and offices and fashionable dress was simplified and shortened.
Many now-anonymous dressmakers and designers like Florie Westwood produced clothes in towns and cities across the country.
aption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”365″] Florrie Westwood, fashion design, London, 1919. Four different designs for winter coats emphasise the new fashion for the linear silhouette and ankle length designs. They also show the new shape (higher neck covering and greater shoulder coverage) of fur collars and cuffs. Vand A Museum no. E.1538-1977[/caption]
After the war changing attitudes to women were reflected in fashion. Younger women cropped their hair and wore skirts to the knee, with simple, linear dresses that gave them a boyish silhouette.
Norman Hartnell (1901 – 79) famous for lavish and romantic evening and bridal gowns. Introduced the longer-length skirts that would mark the end of the ‘flapper’ era. He produced designs for royalty,
Hilda Steward: Nothing much is known about Hilda Steward apart from her drawings. Like Florries Westwood she was another anonymous dressmakers and designers
Victor Stiebel : stylisation
Following the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, new, more down-to-earth attitudes forced on the world offered great scope for a new simplicity, as encapsulated by Coco Chanel (1883–1971). In Britain, fashion became more eclectic but also more feminine and graceful and, by 1930, the ‘boyish’ look had disappeared.
World War II had a profound effect on fashion and it became regulated, militarised and framed by government decrees. But after the war, even under rationing new designs
The New Look: Christian Dior
‘I designed clothes for flower-like women, with rounded shoulders, full feminine busts, and hand-span waists above enormous spreading skirts.’ Christian Dior (1905 – 57), describing the impact of his first collection in the Spring of 1947. Dior introduced hourglass silhouettes and luxurious fabrics, softening previously boxy shoulder pads and cinching the waist for a pronounced feminine look.
Key designers were: Marjorie Field, Renee Gruau and Bernard Blossac.
My favourites are the dynamic pencil and watercolour designs of Blossac. Bernard Blossac (1917-2001) was stationed in Paris during the German occupation. He regularly drew for Vogue, L’Officiel and Harper’s Bazaar. But little is known about his life.
Often associated with the rise of youthful, ready-to-wear fashions, the fifties were nevertheless a prolific and successful decade for the fashion ‘establishment’ as embodied by couture houses and traditional dressmakers. Fashion illustration continued to flourish in the plethora of magazines published at the time.
Sigrid Hunt (later Roesen) was a fashion illustrator and editor. She came to England from Berlin in the early 1930s and worked for prestigious publications including Vogue, Tatler, and The Sketch. From the late 1950s to 1971 she worked in Germany for the Sudkurrier Welt der Frau and Die Mode.
Jean Demarchy (dates unknown) was a 1950s fashion illustrator who worked in soft pastels to create romantic, abstract, images of couture.
However, the privileged status of fashion drawing faded rapidly during the 1950s, and photography soon gained more prominence in post-war magazines that wanted harder-hitting imagery.
The ‘Swinging Sixties’ saw the emergence of a new youth market. The mini-skirt was introduced by Mary Quant in the late 1960s and continued for quite a while after this. London – not Paris – was leading fashion.
Mary Quant (born Wales 1934) gained a diploma in Art Education from Goldsmith’s College, London. She devised eye-catching window displays to attract customers. Her low-priced clothes were made up of simple shapes combined with strong colours like scarlet, prune and green. Famed for popularising the mini skirt, in 1966 Quant was awarded an OBE. In the early 1960s her designs were bought by the chain store J.C. Penney to be mass produced for the American market. The Quant label began to appear worldwide on accessories and make-up.
The 1970s saw the evolution of fashion into a proclamation of individuality. Fashion increasingly became the concern of men as well as women.
A prolific and innovative designer, John Bates (b.1938) often incorporated metallic, plastic and transparent fabrics in his creations. He is perhaps best remembered as the designer of Diana Rigg’s wardrobe for the television series The Avengers in 1965.
A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Zandra Rhodes (b.1940) became famous for her prints on chiffon, and her use of flamboyant, bright colours. Her designs were considered too extravagant by British manufacturers and she set up her own retail outlet on Fulham Road, London, in 1969. Rhodes’ extravagant appearance and style often attracted considerable publicity. She is credited with having introduced Punk fashions to the fashion industry with her 1977 collection entitled Punk Chic.
Bill Gibb (1943–88) was a fashion designer whose creations defined the 1970s look. He opened his boutique Alice Paul in Kensington in 1967 and first designed for the youth market, with clean lines that bore the imprint of contemporary trends. In the 1970s, his style developed along eclectic and romantic lines inspired by the hippie scene and by medieval and pre-Raphaelite painting. His romantic aesthetic was less successful during the 1980s and he presented his last full collection in 1985.
The increasing profile of women in the work place required a new fashion aesthetic, and the decade witnessed the emergence of ‘Power Dressing’. Wide, padded shoulders became fashionable and women’s clothes were inspired by masculine fashion and tailoring traditions. The period also saw the display of lavish evening wear, as exemplified by the opulent dresses of Oscar de la Renta.
Antoni & Alison
The London based fashion design duo, Antoni & Alison, are Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts. They met in 1982 when studying fashion at St Martin’s college. They are known for their eclectic and playful designs, including ranges of slogan and vacuum packed T-shirts.
Manolo Blahnik (b. 1942) is one of the most prominent and successful shoe designers of his age. His creations were famously immortalised in episodes of Sex and the City, and his name is now synonymous with luxurious and exquisitely designed shoes. He was awarded an honorary title of Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours List, for services to the British fashion industry.
These designs are for ladies shoes, for possible production by Zapata Shoes Ltd, London, 1980.
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Geoff Grandfield is an award-winning British illustrator now living in London. He has worked with major newspapers and publishers since 1987. His work centres on the visual communication of ideas, narrative and atmosphere, influenced by the cinematography of film noir and the reductivism of modernist graphic art.
As an educator he has led BA Illustration at Middlesex University (1994-2005) and is currently Course Director and Associate Professor for BA Illustration Animation at Kingston University (since 2006).
As co-founder of ‘Mokita’ the illustration forum (since 2010), he has campaigned for the greater recognition of Illustration as a subject and its significance for international visual culture.
His work is characterised by carefully composed minimalist silhouettes and limited palette, exaggerated perspective and scale contrasts. The bold shapes and perspective have a very strong immediate impact. Other meanings and shapes are often hidden and it is only by following the lines that the meaning of images become revealed.
Grandfield draws with chalk pastel, usually the German make Schminke, and sometimes Talens. “When I work for black and white reproduction I use tones of grey. The tones have some ‘colour’ in them, but mostly I’m going by the weight and contrast between areas. Colour is another thing and I try to prioritise a particular set of colours for a result.” Since 2001 he has been using Photoshop to scan and prepare for reproduction, which in turn has changed the visual look of my work. He scans his originals at A4.
Yuji Hiratsuka sees Japan as a land of contrasts. On the surface it looks rather westernized with McDonald and Coca Cola. But underneath the facade traditional Japanese culture and values remained unchanged. His graphic work is a witty and original synthesis of old Japanese ukiyo-e tradition and modern Western elements.
Japanese gardens are cultivated high atop thirty story Western skyscrapers, or people dine on McDonald’s hamburgers while watching Sumo wrestling. In my work I explore this chaotic coexistence.
“There are many and varied points of view in modern Japan. Some survive from historic periods of significant aesthetic and philosophical development. Two periods in particular contribute to what is known as traditional Japanese art.”
“During the first, in the middle of the 16th century, the Shogun lords closed Japan to all foreign interactions and evolved an art independent of Chinese models. The most important influence was the simplicity born in the spirit of the Zen sect. Art based on Zen was an art of suggestion rather than expression; it emphasized the importance of empty spaces and simple forms.”
“The second period is the Edo era of the 17th century in which the Ukiyo-e school developed a popular art form, largely prints and reproductions, inexpensively designed for common people. Ukiyo-e art was decorative and brightly colored and often featured poster-like caricatures of national personalities (Yakusha-e).”
“In my work I draw from the ancient and the contemporary to express the mismatched combinations and hodgepodge which is Japanese daily life. The Zen aspect can be seen in my portraits. In this case, I always leave the face blank or flat and profile very simple.”
“I do not draw eyes or noses on my portraits. The human face is always changing; the face at work is different from the face that enjoys the love. Aging changes the faces also. I want my prints to express this change. The portraits are left ambiguous so that the viewer can add his/her interpretation. This is the aspect of suggestion rather than expression. Also, I am interested in the humorous and colorful aspects of Ukiyo-e poster art.”
“In my portraits I want to incorporate an element of wit through exaggeration and distortion. For emphasis, I fill in small areas with bright, whimsical colors. To express contemporary influences I use the figure dressed in Western style. My primary source of subject matter is photographs, frequently black and white, which I tear from books, magazines and newspapers. These materials are kept in my studio or in my bag, and whenever I am ready to begin a drawing for the print, I rummage through the wrinkled images.”
“There are small transitions in my work from time to time, and my interest is always based on unpredictable texture that is printed from the etched surface of the copper plate. My prints explore the complex relationship of paper, ink and etched plates to describe my thought, as well as the relationship which occurs between figures and space to express other human experiences. Always I try to investigate the maximum potential available to me as a printmaker.”
Yuji Hiratsuka was born in Osaka, Japan. In 1973 until 1978 he studied at Tokyo Gakugei University, Koganei-shi, Tokyo, Japan. In 1978 he graduated with a BS (Batchelor of Science) in Art Education.
In 1985 the young artist, then 33 years old, decided to take a plane in Eastern direction, and moved to the United States. Hiratsuka has not been the first one to make this step. Many Japanese artists of the 20th century went to the United States – some for studies, others for teaching. Some remained only one or two years in the U.S.A. and others forever.
Yuji Hiratsuka has stayed until now in his new homeland. He first extended and intensified his studies. From 1985 until 1987 he made his MA (Master of Arts) in printmaking at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. And from 1987 until 1990 he studied at Indiana University, Bloomington, and graduated with an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in printmaking.
In 1987 Hiratsuka began to work as an art instructor. Since 1992 he is an Associate Professor at the Department of Art, Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Technique: Chine Collé with Etching
The artist uses a mixed media combination of Chine Collé with etching. Thisis a time-consuming printing process that requires a lot of skill and experience.
“My personal technique using Chine Collé with traditional and innovative etching is the following:
With continuous alterations to a copper plate I print a sequence of black, yellow, red and blue, passing the same plate through the press for each design and color change.
To start with; the first tones to the plate are given with line etching, drypoint, aquatint, softground, photocopy transfer or roulette. I pull my first color. With these first impressions, I work back into the plate with a scraper, burnisher and emery paper to enhance the lights and accent the motif. I then go on to the second, third and fourth colors.
Finally, the print is completed from the back with a relief process of woodcut or linocut to intensify shapes and/or colors.
I print on the paper which best suits my work; this is a thin Japanese paper known as Toyama Kozo (Japanese Mulberry). As in the French use of Chine Colle I apply glue to the back of the Kozo print and pass it through the press, with a heavier rag paper (BFK Rives or Somerset, etc.) beneath. What the viewer sees; is my four color intaglio print saturated with subtle tones that come through the back of a Toyama Kozo paper which is set deep into a rag paper.”