Tuesday, April 15, 2008
When fashion magazines first started, there was no such thing as fashion photography. Instead, illustrators drew the covers and the pictorials of the latest trends and collections. From Art Deco to Impressionist, many styles flourished at magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Names such as Helen Thurlow, Porter Woodruff, Georges Lepape, George Plank, Benito, Blin, Mourgue, Marty and René Gruau painted and drew fashionable society as well as what was going on in the world. The first Vogue photographic cover appeared in July 1932 and fashion photography was born creating a slew of iconic names such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. With that however was the demise of the golden age of fashion illustration.
But illustrator David Downton is starting to revive his love of the art by creating a quarterly magazine, Pourquoi Pas? that features beautiful illustrations by René Gruau, vintage Vogue covers, sketchbooks from Chanel and Versace shows and illustrations of models by the Downton himself. It also features articles by Style.com writer Sarah Mower, The New York Times' Cathy Horyn and Tim Blanks.
It's a remarkable collection of an art that I barely knew existed and I encourage anyone who loves fashion or art to buy a copy. It truly is a piece of art. (Illustration: David Downton)