Tony Glenville Resurrects the Art of Fashion Illustration

Photo: Cedric Rivrain

Though we currently inhabit an instantaneous world where fashion and street-style photography are online within mere minutes (and in many cases even live-streamed), there was once a time when hand-drawn sketches of items sauntering down a catwalk were the only tokens of memorabilia that attendees could take home with them postshow. Eventually, those same illustrations would appear in the pages of glossies and advertisements, very much in the same way high-resolution fashion photographs do today.

But in Tony Glenville’s latest book, New Icons of Fashion Illustration, the creative director of the School of Media & Communication at the London College of Fashion asserts that fashion illustration is not a relic. Over 224 pages, Glenville successfully stuffs hundreds of recent fashion illustrations and identifies 28 of today’s “new icons,” including internationally renowned artists David Downton, Cecilia Carlstedt, Jason Brooks, and Jordi Labanada. “The art of the contemporary fashion illustrator can be seen as defying the times — an anachronism in this age of the digital photograph, instant internet communication, and technology-driven creative processes,” he writes in the introduction. “We are currently rediscovering craft and technique and seeking to preserve skills — such as drawing from life at speed — that were in danger of disappearing. Fashion illustration is an art based simply on the skill of the hand and the eye.” The book, published by Laurence King and set to be released in April, is divided into chapters based on each artist, including a brief profile on their individual style as well a Q&A. Click through the slides to catch a glimpse of the artwork, from Carlos Aponte’s unique tape line drawings and Tina Berning’s usage of monochromatic wash to Gary Fernandez’s otherworldly, graphic-infused illustrations.

Tony Glenville Resurrects Fashion Illustration