Strike a pose – fashion illustrations sashay into town

Rare artworks by fashion’s cult illustrators

Colin McDowell’s Red Jacket, £1,200
Colin McDowell’s Red Jacket, £1,200

The art of fashion illustration steals the spotlight at London’s Gallery 8 from September 14 to 21, in the exhibition Drawing on Style, which then travels to Bath and the Gray MCA Gallery from October 8 to November 30. The London dates – coinciding with Fashion Week – offer those flocking to the city for a style fix a rare chance to view (and purchase) works by some of the 20th century’s greatest fashion artists, including images by René Gruau and writer Colin McDowell, which have never been seen before, and a rare pastel and pencil drawing by Carl “Eric” Erickson from the July 1933 issue of Vogue.

René Bouché’s Evening Gown & Fur Stole, £3,500
René Bouché’s Evening Gown & Fur Stole, £3,500
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René Gruau’s Bemberg Textiles Milan, £12,500
René Gruau’s Bemberg Textiles Milan, £12,500

Among the other striking artworks for sale (priced from £550 to £20,000) will be drawings by the Puerto Rican illustrator Antonio Lopez from the height of his career in the 1970s, and works by masters of the genre such as René Bouché (1905-1963), René Bouët-Willaumez (1900-1979) and Joe Eula (1925-2004). Iconic images by Kenneth Paul Block (who was the owner of Women’s Wear Daily and its offshoot W) and Chanel’s design maestro Karl Lagerfeld are also included in the collection, alongside original sketches by McDowell.

Karl Lagerfeld’s Chloé Couture, Design Sketch II, £1,800
Karl Lagerfeld’s Chloé Couture, Design Sketch II, £1,800
Antonio Lopez’s Daniel Hechter Fashion Variation 3, £3,000
Antonio Lopez’s Daniel Hechter Fashion Variation 3, £3,000
Antonio Lopez’s Daniel Hechter Fashion, £2,000
Antonio Lopez’s Daniel Hechter Fashion, £2,000

Those with an interest in fashion history will be drawn to the illustrations created for early editions of magazines, but the collection also takes viewers full circle and includes modern works by the British artist Jason Brooks for Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Jason Brooks’ Gucci Paramount, £2,000
Jason Brooks’ Gucci Paramount, £2,000
René Gruau’s Lèvres Rouge, £20,000
René Gruau’s Lèvres Rouge, £20,000
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The gallery’s programme of events includes an evening drawing masterclass (£10) with Dior’s artist-in-residence Bil Donovan (Monday September 17) and a Q&A with Brooks (which is free to attend) on Tuesday September 18. For those who attend the show during the day, a series of gallery talks will be held at 1.30pm daily for the duration of the London show.

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