FASHION DRAWING AS A CAREER To many art school students in this country fashion drawing seems an attractive but hazardous career. In this survey the art editors of Vogue, The Queen, Harper s and the Daily Express advise students on fashion drawing as a career, and give some shocks to conventional ideas the fashion artist invites imaginationhis women are unreal, and therefore might be us. We slip into the personalities that he has left vacant for us, and buy the clothes he has no more than indicated. He relates the fantasy of fashion to its periodhe and his technique are part of the age it represents, and therefore we shall never look funny, as we do in old photographs in time we may parallel the grandes dames and petites bourgeoises of Constantin Guys. For the purpose of this brief survey, a rough division into four types may be usefulthe catalogue drawingfashion advertisingmagazine fashionnewspaper work. Fashion drawing for catalogue work is a form of illustration which is the prerogative of the competent, and no doubt comes naturally to them. Such artists maintain a low but honest standard, are careful not to fall below it and incapable, usually, of surpassing it. Such drawing dominates British fashion and shares with the county tradition responsibility for the legend of British feminine dowdiness. There are, how ever, excellent and even brilliant exceptions the drawings for the catalogues of Galeries Lafayette, produced by Colman Prentis and Var ley, are notable examples. Let us hope they are a portent. Space will not permit detailed discussion of drawings for fashion advertising, or of the cam paigns of the different fashion houses and their personal ingenuity. On broader issues, fashion advertising is influenced by magazine and news paper work, and for the purpose of these notes will be identified with them. The most important consideration is obviously the buyers' requirements, and Vogue must auto matically take first place for intelligent and imaginative use of the fashion artist (and fre quently for his discovery). Listen, then, to J. de Holden Stone, art editor of the English edition of Vogue. He has written at length because he wants to discourage a lot of students who are thinking of going in for fashion drawing, and rope in a few who wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.' Here, then, is his advice Start by thinking about photography. Realise that the camera has cheapened whole aspects of draughtsmanship which at one time or another have been taken as evidence of supreme skill perspective, detail, texture, unusual angles, momentary facial expression, play of light, crowd scenes, and so on. Note that the fashion photo grapher, unknown to the reader, has developed 140

Commercial Art / Art and Industry en | 1940 | | page 18