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Task 3 Unit 1 - Research with me Historical Fashion Illustrators

So we finish our long Unit 3 project and now we are having drawing lessons and studying fashion illustrators for both UNIT 12 (Computers in Art & Design) & UNIT 1 (visual recording in Art & Design)

❤️I need to say, I am loving a lot both units, I am improving my creative process, but still having problems drawing the Human figure, that, still embarrassing me a lot!🙈😂

Task 3: Research the work of at least two historical fashion illustrators. Describe how they might influence your work, add as well:

  • Basic biographical information
  • An analysis of their work, including examples and descriptions
  • What media, techniques and processes do you think they have used?
  • Are there any you would or wouldn't use in your own work?
  • List things that you would like to try.

Record your findings on your blog.


  • Ertè, Romain de Tirtoff, the 20s

  • Basic biographical information 

    Romain de Tirtoff known by the pseudonym Ertè was born in St. Petersburg in 1892. He was 20 years old was he moved to Paris, in 1912, to pursue his passion for fashion.

  • Erte enjoyed a long career as a fashion illustrator for Harper's Bazaar magazine, and gained fame as the creator of gloriously extravagant costumes and stage sets for the Folies Bergere in Paris. He also designed for the opera and traditional theatre, and made a brief appearance on the Hollywood scene in 1925.

  • Hailed as 'the father of Art Deco', the designer produced more than twenty thousand designs during his long life,not only magazine covers and book illustrations, but also jewellery, furniture, textiles, stage sets and costumes.
  • Analysis of their work, including examples and descriptions

  • Erté was the first designer to advocate a unisex fashion but preferred extravagance with women's clothing and accessories.

  • His style is a mix of art deco and oriental and Russian vibes. The figures are stylized, reduced to simplified/minimalist form; especially the faces are simple and minimal.
  • The women in his paintings were drawn with graceful fluidity. Sleek and classy dressed in elegant and rich garments. Their pose's often of profile or partly turned, the models never have direct eye contact with the viewer; often drew instead looking down or with eyes shut.

  • Colours are bold and matte, used often as background. The use of colour it's abondant but he often draw in black and white.
  • Most of the illustrations themes are circus, costumes, mythology, allegory and fairytales.

  • The poses are static and they look kind of bidimensional.

  • What media, techniques and processes do you think they have used?


    Mixed media from tempera, gouache, watercolour, pencil and serigraphy.
  • Erté's earliest illustrations were created using pen and Indian ink. He also often use gouache, which he preferred over oils for the density, texture.  He used this medium predominantly for his work with New York's Harper's Bazaar, producing more than 200 magazine covers with this technique between 1915 and 1938.

  • Embracing the development of printmaking techniques, Erté later produced lithographs and serigraphs (silkscreen prints) of his work.
  • Serigraphy, was especially useful for limited edition prints, and also allowed Erté to experiment – and set trends – with various techniques such as cut templates, additional embossed surfaces, built-up layers of colour pigment, and printing on black paper.






  • Are there any you would or wouldn't use in your own work? /List things that you would like to try.

  • I like the sleek and elegant drawing of the human form and the Russian doll's look of the women in his illustrations.
  • I like the tremenduos creativity of his costumes and jewellery embellishments of the drawing and like as well how the lines are clear and tide for such a 1920s artist.


    Barbara Hulanicki -from the 60s to present

    Basic biographical information

    Barbara Hulanicki is a Warsaw- born fashion designer, known for being the founder of the iconic clothes store Biba.

    Born in Warsaw, to Polish parents, Hulanicki won a London Evening Standard competition for beachwear in 1955. She began her career in fashion as a freelance fashion illustrator, covering all the important fashion collections including, British Vogue, the Times, the Observer and the Sunday Times. In 1964 she founded, with her late husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, the boutique BIBA, beginning as a small mail-order business. The shop soon became famous for its stylishly decadent atmosphere and lavish decor inspired by Art Nouveau and Art Deco. It became a hangout for artists film stars and rock musicians.


    After the closure of Biba, Hulanicki continued to work in the fashion industry, designing for such fashion designers as Fiorucci and Cacharel and twelve years, from 1980 to 1992, designed a successful line of children's wear, Minirock, licensed to the Japanese market.

    British retailer Topshop opened a New York store in April 2009 and, late the same month launched a highly anticipated collection featuring Hulanicki's designs available both in stores and online. The collection has been extremely successful for Topshop with rails stripped within minutes. An autumn/winter collection is currently in production expected to be released by the end of the year. Released the same month was a handbag she designed for the Italian label Coccinelle, also featuring her art nouveau style, which was favourably reviewed by the website Handbag.

    Barbara Hulanicky is one of London top fashion designer especially in the '60s and an influential icon of style.

    Look at this 1970's Interview at BIBA:

    Biba 1970 Barbara Hulanicki

    An analysis of their work, including examples and descriptions

    Hulanicki is a fashion artist who has worked since the early '60s until nowadays, with an impeccable portfolio created during her carrier. Her fashion's illustrations are feminine, delicate, stylized; reduced to simplified/minimalist form.

    A lot of her Illustrations are influenced by Art Nouveau and the famous exponent of this art movement, Mucha. Like Mucha, Hulanicki frame her "models" into decorative frames, circles and other decorative signs and embellishments.

    Models are only young, sleek, slender women. Their pose is usually frontal or sometimes partly turned, pose are static not giving a sense of movement.

    Every model gives direct eye contact with the viewer and few of them looking on their side instead.

    Illustrations are often minimalistic, but sometimes enriched with frames and or Art nouveau decorations style, abstract elements are shown a few times, like shapes and splashes.

     Garments drew are all her creations/designs: 60s style dresses, blouses and jackets paired with beautiful hairstyles and stylish hats.

    What media, techniques and processes do you think they have used? 

    I think Hulanicky uses most pencil and drawing ink, few pieces are coloured some in blue ink and other fully coloured, but I am not sure of the techniques used in this case.


  • Are there any you would or wouldn't use in your own work? /List things that you would like to try.

  • I like a lot Barbara Hulanicki's work: Her drawings skills are impeccable and enviable. She is an icon of London 60s styles and her career should be an inspiration for future creatives of the fashion industry.
  • I love how she enriched her fashion drawings with frames and circles a how she's able to give more character to her models with intricate fashion's hairstyles.

    Tony Viramontes -'70s & '80s

    Basic biographical information

  • Tony Viramontes 1956–1988 was an American artist born in California by Spanish and Mexican parents. He began his rise in the early '70s, before as a photographer and then as a fashion illustrator. He studied fine art and photography in New York at FIT and Parsons, before switching to fashion and beauty illustration. From the late 1970s, his works appeared in numerous publications including Vogue, Marie Claire, ID, le monde etc. He had collaborated as well with musicians like Duran Duran and Janet Jackets, creating covers for their albums.

  • His hard and direct style was a marked contrast to the prevailing soft pastel school of fashion illustration. He scored an immediate success. Tony Viramontes made drawing and selling illustrations trendy again, at a time when photography dominated the fashion pages.

  • Tony Viramontes had great artistic potential, in few years left a prominent imprint of his style in the world of fashion and, he was unfortunately taken away to early,  he died in 1988 at the young age of 31 of an AIDS related illness. More than two decades after his death, his work still shimmers with sensuality, uniqueness and power that remains undimmed.


  • An analysis of their work, including examples and descriptions


  • "It is essentials to capture the image, not a detail, not a garment or an expression, but an impression. Of the hundreds of sketches I might make for one drawing, it's almost always the first the states the essential" Tony Viramontes

  • As we said Viramontes rise in the early 70s with his heavily different style in how he outlines bodies and his minimal use of colour. Much of his notable works will feature models posing in unusual mannerisms to create dynamic visions.

  • Tony's drawings were a success because they were contemporary with the time, the flamboyance of the moment was a perfect fit for his style.

  • Viramontes female models were made with dramatic lines drawings rather than simply looking provocative, there is almost a certain insolence in their looks. Strong faces, with a full big mouth, a prominent nose and graphic brows.

  • He drew lots of male models too, they always had very structured faces; he liked to recreate typically macho men into softer more feminine images, stretching the boundaries of male identity.

  • The models fit always the entire page, or even get cut out of the page size.  Poses are strong and empowering in women drawings, often paired with unusual facial expressions.



    What media, techniques and processes do you think they have used? 

  • Tony Viramontes developed his style continuously and became a master of diverse techniques and media, drawing quick and clean lines using pencil, charcoal, gouache and collage.
  • He used always real models in front of him, both male and female, in a sort of live-action photography. He often scribbles on photos adding a layer of personality never seen in his predecessor.

  • Are there any you would or wouldn't use in your own work? /List things that you would like to try.

  • I would like to try his scribbles on photos, I like how natural and instictive they looks. I like the idea of using real models for his artworks, I could use more photos as references for my drawings.
  • I would like to try some strong poses for models as the ones he uses.

  • Task 3 of Unit 1 about Historical fashion illustrators, if I still have time before the deadline I will like to research about other historical illustrators like Antonio lopez, Gruau and Caroline Smith.


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