Radiant; Parisian Flare

By Shaquelle Whyte

Fashion illustration is an art form. The pictorial representation of clothing allows for a designer to visualise their work before sowing the actual garment. Creation and innovation dominate the creative plane; fashion illustration allows for future historians and voguers to peek inside the minds of a designer, to see how they came forth with there ideas before they hit the runway. Illustration in fashion was also used in periodicals to express a designer’s vision post a show collection.

Fashion illustration has been around for almost 500 years. In order for a piece to be conceived by investors the translation of idea to image is integral to the communication of brilliance. Fashion illustration is multi-faceted as to its purpose. At its core fashion illustration is art, a form a visual excellence that can exist in parallel but equally separate to the finished garment to come. This speaks to the nature of fashion illustration; it has its own identity.

p. 42-43 Abat-jout (Lampshade)

As the photograph became more and more accessible the need for fashion illustration declined, being replaced by the pictorial image. But one this that the pictorial image can never do is provide the freedom to portray an idea at its core. In turn, it represents years we have seen a return to illustration further cementing fashion illustration as a form of couture.

From Vogue, Dior to private collectors all have and will always see the price in the time and skill it take to capture an idea that can be actualised; fashion illustration sits within space of perpetual motion. Will it be made, will it not? But ultimately it offers joy and a tour of the designer’s mind.

p. 40 Chanel 02

No one does this better than Marc-Antoine Coulon. Drawing from the age of two, his professional career as seen his work span continents. His work brings something new to the landscape that is illustration; a sense of person. One can emote with the person in the image, feel what it they feel.     This comes with his ability to focus on accuracy and aesthetic. The blurred line that he walks between fine art and. Fashion illustration. Brings something fresh to both worlds; both are better for it.

His skills are especially important when considering the flair and persona that comes with Parisian fashion. As dictated within the pages of ‘Paris: Fashion Flair’. The world sees Paris as one of the strongholds of fashion. Dominated by the minimal the Parisian style can be encapsulated within one word. La nonchalance. Coulon’s book captures this in its entirety 

Marc-Antoine Coulon from Paris: Fashion Flair (Flammarion 2019)

Who else to capture the Parisian spirit than Marc- Antoine Coulon? Coulon captures Paris fashion on and off the runway. His range and dexterity come together in rendered observations. His work translates a narrative through every page. One of documentation; one of romanticism.

Clear are his inspirations, greats including René Gruau and Erté which have allowed Coulon to create his style that is sysynced with the aesthetic and vision of the book. Timeless and iconic- as fashion illustration enjoys a renaissance ‘Paris: Fashion Flair’ allows you as a reader to understand to artistry behind the process of fashion. A greater understanding of the fashion world and its intricacies, individualism and elegance.

Paris: Fashion Flair is due for release 4th November 2019 Flammarion. 

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