100 Years of Fashion Illustration (Pocket edition) By Belinda Morris By Cally Blackman
(£12.99, Laurence King Publishing)
So, is it too soon to think about Christmas presents? Nah… you’ll thank me for this later. It might be something you’ve always wanted yourself, in which case go for it; but I think this little book (actually it’s more or less A5 size and almost 400 pages – so you’d have to have big pockets) would make a great gift for an illustrator/designer (budding or established) or anyone who loves fashion and graphic design.
This edition is, as its name suggests, a handy-size version of a larger, coffee table tome, which came out in 2007, so the chronological documentary of this genre of art stops at 2005, so obviously there will be some names missing. However, as the title has been published in association with Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, you can be pretty certain that what’s within is relevant and comprehensive to that point.
Witness David Downton’s illustration of Dior Couture by John Galliano on the cover – who else, what else? Downton’s particular brand of spare, modern elegance is as much in demand today as was back in the late ‘80s and ‘90s and is certainly more than a passing nod to the work of René Gruau, who continued to produce his dramatically chic fashion models with their characteristic heavy black outlines – so popular with the key fashion magazines in the ‘40s and ‘50s – almost until his heath in 2004.
In tandem with the work of the illustrators, Blackman charts the history of fashion, art and culture and proves that even during the rise of the celebrated fashion photographers, illustrators offered their own, particular – often idiosyncratic – take on the prevailing moods of the times.