Fernanda Ly and pink roses are a marriage made in pink heaven. This was done through coloured pencil and watercolour, which is my favourite tools of the trade at the moment.
Fashion Collection illustrations
This took way too long to do but I had such a great time doing it. I tried to take a few work in progress photos (I forget to most of the time) which are on my instagram if you’re interested.
One of my favourite books to read to relax in the evenings and Sunday mornings is Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. The descriptions are often beautiful, sometimes snarky and hilarious, and I’d recommend it to absolutely everyone whether they’re a perfume enthusiast or not. I was also very pleased, nearing on smug, when I found that my personal favourite perfume Mitsouko, is also the author’s favourite. They didn’t like my other favourite, though: Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.
Since I’ve been going back to this perfume book like a comfort blanket over the last few weeks, I decided to do a series of perfume illustrations, and where better to start than with the most famous perfume: Chanel No. 5? Through my trusty copy of the Perfume A-Z, I learnt that Chanel has its own fields of may rose and jasmine which are farmed exclusively for them in Grasse in the South of France. The flowers are harvested twice a year and form the heart of several of Chanel’s perfumes, including, of course, No. 5.
I want to do a series which features of perfumes positively exploding out of the bottle, so here are roses, jasmine, with hints of ylang ylang, iris and neroli bursting out of the classic bottle, along with the musky smokiness in the background. I may do this picture again and add in more of the flower notes of this perfume, which also includes lily of the valley and iris.
Blush seems to be returning to be a statement feature rather than a delicate little touch of colour. Kenzo’s make-up arist, Lynsey Alexander, created a standout look for S/S 2017 using Mac’s lip pencil in the classic shade of ‘Ruby Woo’ and Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour. The overall look was a slick collection which made the models beautiful flowers, and I loved this look with the massive clusters of peach crystals as earrings.
Here’s my original sketch scan before being cleaned and painted.
Then I added the watercolours, being conscious of wanting it to keep a good texture on the paper. After being scanned again, cleaned and the brightness adjusted, I added some digital touches like the eyes, collar, hair and where the light catches.
Pencil and Gansai Tambi watercolours on Bristol board with digital accents.
One of the reasons I love fashion illustration is because, through drawing designs, I can fully appreciate the level of skill and artistry that goes into fashion pieces from the inspiration stage right through the making. Through drawing, I can see the construction more clearly, and one designer who never disappointed was Alexander McQueen.
I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.
– Alexander McQueen
Though I think that Sarah Burton has continued his legacy admirably, McQueen really could make women look extremely powerful and with a dark sexuality which was unique to him. It was definitely a muse and a theme for him throughout his work, as shown in the quote above and in this ensemble from his Horn of Plenty collection from A/W 2009.
Although the palette is black with silver accents, the different textures and the complicated strap work was something I really wanted to focus on, not just the amazing silhouette. To make sure that the individual aspects of the outfit were differentiated while retaining the same monochrome palette and overall effect, I used two types of black ink; one is a matte and densely noir Japanese ink, and one which is more complex tonally and contains gold flecks.
I particularly love the sheen of white ink on the black to emulate leather as well as hints at the almost corset-like construction around the waist. The background diluted colour shows the pink and blue tones as well as the gold flecks in the ink that makes it so special. It might taken a while to finish but I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s such a formidable look.
Wow, January was a terrible month for me. I caught a virus which just didn’t seem to want to leave and ramped up the stakes into becoming a chest infection, and then I fell over and sprained my ankle! What a joy. After some antibiotics and ankle braces, though, I did a LOT of work because I couldn’t do much else, and am finally in the process of updating the site! Sneak peaks are on my instagram, as usual. Stay well, everyone. Eat your greens and stay warm and cosy!
This is my latest ilustration: the mod-inspired look from Ulyana Sergeenko’s fall collection from 2016. It has a lovely ‘Russia in the 60s’ X Bob Fosse’s Cabaret feel to it, so I had a lot of fun trying to capture the textures in this illustration using watercolours. Shiny helmets, satin trench coats, lurex, stockings and patent shoes are like catnip to me when illustrating, because there’s always a moment when I think: ‘How do I do this?!’ and have mild panic attacks over a pencil sketch. I always relish the opportunity to spatter masking fluid over a sketch in a very hedonistic, flamboyant way, however, and on this occasion it helped convey the metallic effect of the lurex body.
Please feel free to follow me at fashionatingdarling on instagram and say hi! xxx
I particularly loved this piece since I first saw it.The bright yellow and coral touches as well as the little flowers on the bodice which tie everything together make a stunning impression.
D&G’s Alta Moda (lit: ‘high fashion’) collections are one-off pieces sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the designs are always incredibly beautiful and unique. They’re so exclusive that they’re primarily bought by true haute couture devotees after the show, and it’s unlikely that the public will ever see them again unless the owners decides to bequeath or sell to a museum. Highfashionw wrote a great post about the meaning of Alta Moda collections and its meaning and importance in defining haute couture houses.
Since I’m going through a phase of using Gansai Tambi watercolours on Strathmore grey-toned paper, the yellow stripes on the skirt took several layers of paint; so many that I lost count! The further down the stripes were, I applied fewer layers of paint to grade it out a little bit, otherwise I felt that it would draw too much attention away from the bodice.
The roses in the background are David Austen roses which I just tinted slightly, trying to get something between realistic and the roses & castles gypsy caravan/Victorian barge decoration style. This is one of my favourite illustrations that I’ve done recently, so it’s now on my wall when it’s very rare that I keep any of my paintings. I hope that you like it, too. If so, please follow me on instagram where I post WIP photos and more. More importantly, have a lovely day. xx
I loved this collection and I’m sure that this won’t be the last YSL F/W 2016 look that I’ll draw. It’s such an elegant time warp back to the 80s, and the make-up is fantastic with the cut creases and bright lips. There just aren’t enough ruffs in fashion these days, in my opinion.
This illustration was done using Gansai Tambi watercolour paint by Kuretake, which can be used so they act more like acrylics. They’re so highly pigmented that they’re a great choice when you need a really matte finish with a lot of depth, but they can also produce very subtle, traditional watercolour washes, as you can see in the background wild roses.