Karl Lagerfeld Sketches His Life video (Video Hyperlink:  You Tube)

In honor of the upcoming MET exhibit entitled “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Magnificence,”  we want to have a good time Lagerfeld’s work as an completed style illustrator, in addition to a prolific clothier. It’s a frequent fantasy that all style designers are in a position to conceptualize their style designs by way of style illustration. The reality is that only a few designers know methods to ‘illustrate‘. It’s rather more frequent for designers to execute a fast style ‘sketch‘ to get their design thought throughout.

One other false impression is that all style illustrators can ‘design’. Nicely, simply because one can illustrate style doesn’t imply that they will additionally design style. In truth, it’s fairly uncommon when a clothier can do each. As lots of our subscribers know, there are different expertise together with draping, sample making and stitching that needs to be honed to develop into a profitable designer.

Due to this fact, in lieu of the upcoming MET present, this week’s weblog submit will spotlight Lagerfeld’s work as each a designer and illustrator. And, since we simply celebrated World Creativity Day on April twentieth, we will even be highlighting different well-known designers/illustrators whose illustrations are quick turning into collector’s objects, which might be both offered at public sale homes or on their web sites for hundreds of {dollars}.


The upcoming Lagerfeld MET exhibit, which runs from Might 5 to July 16, is anticipated to attract style fans and trade insiders from around the globe desperate to expertise the life and work of one in every of style’s most influential designers. It is going to function Lagerfeld’s most iconic designs, together with his re-imagined Chanel jackets, Fendi fur items and his signature equipment. The exhibit will even embrace quite a lot of private objects belonging to Lagerfeld, corresponding to his sketchbooks, private correspondence and pictures. That is positively a designers’s dream present come true!

Karl Lagerfeld and his treasured cat Choupette in Paris 2018. (Photograph Credit score: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue)

All through his profession, Lagerfeld created a wealth of style illustrations that captured the essence of his designs and his distinctive inventive imaginative and prescient. His illustrations had been typically used to advertise his collections and even at present, they proceed to encourage and captivate style fans.

In Lagerfeld’s early illustration work, you possibly can see that he had a a lot tighter hand as proven within the photos beneath that he did for the Home of Tiziani earlier than he joined Chanel in 1983.  His illustrations had been characterised by their daring, graphic fashion and a spotlight to element. Over time nevertheless, Lagerfeld’s hand grew to become looser and fewer inflexible and subsequently was in a position to seize the motion and stream of materials, typically extremely stylized, with exaggerated proportions and abstracted shapes. Regardless of their summary nature, Lagerfeld’s illustrations all the time conveyed a way of class and class.

4 of the style illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld auctioned on April 18, 2019 (Picture Credit score wwd.com)

Whether or not Lagerfeld was illustrating a Chanel jacket or a Fendi robe, he all the time managed to convey the distinctive character and elegance of every piece. Used as promotional supplies, Lagerfeld’s illustrations helped construct anticipation and pleasure for every of his upcoming exhibits.

Illustration of Chanel coat, fall 2017. (Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork)

Lagerfeld’s work was additionally a mirrored image of his bigger inventive imaginative and prescient. He was recognized for his love of artwork, literature and tradition, and his illustrations typically included parts from these fields. For instance, he often included references to classical artwork, corresponding to Greek statues, Renaissance work or iconic monuments such because the Statue of Liberty. These references added an additional layer of depth and which means to his work and helped to determine Lagerfeld as a real visionary within the style trade.

Lagerfeld’s illustration – Anna Piaggi for Liberty of Vogue, Barney’s New York
1986 (Picture Credit score: 1stDibs.com)

The work of some style designers and style illustrators are actually extremely collectable and are offered on web sites like 1stDibs.com, iCanvas.com and Artsy.web or in public sale homes around the globe.

Lagerfeld illustration

A Karl Lagerfeld illustration circa 1960-1970: authentic yellow and white coat coloured pencil style sketch – 10k Appraisal 
Features a Certificates of Authenticity – offered for US$6,950 (Photograph Credit score: artsy.web)

Along with illustrating his collections, Lagerfeld additionally created a lot of illustrations for different functions, corresponding to books, magazines and even a calendar, showcasing his various abilities and his means to adapt his fashion to completely different contexts. Lagerfeld’s illustrations had been all the time imbued along with his signature fashion and creativity, making them immediately recognizable as his personal.

A Chanel illustration for Woman Gaga created by Karl Lagerfeld. (Photograph Credit score: Fb.com)


The MET’s Lagerfeld exhibit will consist of roughly 150 designs and based on the MET, it’ll “discover the creative methodology and stylistic vocabulary of Karl Lagerfeld’s designs by recurring themes throughout greater than 65 years, from the Fifties to his last assortment in 2019”. The Costume Institute Profit (often known as The Met Gala) will happen on Monday, Might 1, 2023.

Along with showcasing Lagerfeld’s designs, the exhibit will discover the designer’s life and legacy. Lagerfeld was recognized for his larger-than-life character, his love of artwork and literature, and his tireless work ethic. The exhibit will delve into Lagerfeld’s background, together with his youth in Germany and his rise to fame within the style trade. Guests will acquire perception into Lagerfeld’s inventive course of, his inspirations, and his collaborations with different artists and designers.

One of the vital thrilling features of the exhibit is the chance to see Lagerfeld’s designs up shut and private. Guests will have the ability to research the intricate particulars and craftsmanship that went into creating each bit. From the impeccable tailoring of his jackets to the intricate embroidery on his robes, Lagerfeld’s designs are a testomony to his talent as a designer. Right here’s a pattern of what’s going to be featured within the exhibition:

Marriage ceremony gown by Chanel Haute Couture from the Fall 2005 Assortment. (Photograph Credit score: Julia Hetta. Courtesy of the MET)

A Fendi coat from the autumn 2000 Assortment. (Photograph Credit score: Julia Hetta for the MET)

The exhibit will even function interactive parts, together with digital actuality experiences and interactive shows. Guests will have the ability to discover Lagerfeld’s designs in quite a lot of methods, from 3D projections to digital runway exhibits. The exhibit will present a really immersive expertise, giving guests an opportunity to step into Lagerfeld’s world and see the style trade by his eyes.


A classic photograph of Karl Lagerfeld. (Photograph Credit score Getty Photos)

Lagerfeld served because the inventive director for Chanel for over three many years, earlier than his passing on February 19, 2019.

Maybe one in every of Lagerfeld’s biggest contributions to style was his means to maintain Chanel related. When he took over as inventive director in 1983, the model was struggling to stay contemporary. Nevertheless, Lagerfeld breathed new life into the heritage model, infusing it along with his personal distinctive fashion and imaginative and prescient. He was unafraid to take dangers and experiment with new concepts, whereas nonetheless remaining true to the model’s traditional aesthetic.

Lagerfeld’s re-invention of the Chanel jacket, which he launched within the Eighties, was a contemporary replace of the traditional silhouette. The jacket grew to become an prompt traditional and stays a staple of the Chanel assortment, in varied iterations, at present. Though he’s now not with us, Lagerfeld’s affect on style will proceed to be felt for years to return.

A few of Karl Lagerfeld’s finest moments at Chanel. (Photograph Credit score: Harper’s Bazaar)


Most designers working within the style trade at present have little time to sit down down and illustrate their concepts. Most execute fast, tough sketches that they hand off to their assistant or to their sample maker. However there are style designers preferring to  illustrate their creations and who possess a particular expertise that permits them to higher talk their imaginative and prescient in a novel and inventive manner. Most designers will rent an expert style illustrator to showcase their work for press functions, for instance, the illustration beneath is by style illustrator Janka Letková for Marc Jacobs. See the illustrator’s signature in small script alongside the vertical sash.


Janka Letková fashion illustration

Vogue illustrator Janka Letková for Marc Jacobs (Picture Credit score: iCanvas.com)

Different designers are extra inclined to advertise their work utilizing their very own distinctive fashion of illustration. Right here a a couple of of the proficient style designers who illustrate their very own creations.


Maria Grazia Chiuri, the inventive director for Dior, creates beautiful illustrations which might be characterised by their romantic, ethereal high quality. Her illustrations showcase the small print and beautiful craftsmanship of her designs which provides an additional layer of depth and which means to her work.


Maria Grazia Chiuri fashion illustration for Dior for Georgia tour

Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri style illustration for recording artist Georgia  for her 2019 tour (Picture Credit score: style press.it.com)


French clothier Christian Lacroix can be recognized for his illustration expertise, that are characterised by their whimsical, and fantastical fashion. Lacroix’s illustrations typically incorporate parts from artwork historical past, corresponding to Rococo motifs and Baroque ornamentation. His illustrations showcase his distinctive inventive imaginative and prescient and his means to mix completely different kinds and influences into his designs.

Vogue Illustrations by Christian Lacroix (Picture Credit score: Pinterest.com)


Alber Elbaz, the previous inventive director of Lanvin who sadly handed away on April 24, 2021, was recognized for his playful and  cartoonish fashion. His illustrations typically featured exaggerated proportions with shiny, daring colours and had been used to advertise his collections. His illustrations had been thought of paintings in their very own proper.

A style illustration by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin (Picture Credit score: Pinterest.com) 


Christian Siriano is a designer who has constructed a profitable profession by creating clothes that celebrates range and inclusivity. He’s additionally an completed illustrator whose illustrations are playful, but with a way of drama and impression. Siriano is likely one of the designers who sells his limited-edition illustrations, starting from $75-$1,200, on his web site ChristianSiriano.com.

Christian Siriano showing his limited edition fashion illustrations

Christian Siriano displaying his restricted version style illustrations (Photograph Credit score: ChristianSiriano.com)


Jean-Paul Gaultier is a designer recognized for his daring, unconventional designs. He’s additionally an completed illustrator. Gaultier’s illustrations typically function exact, graphic strains, just like the one beneath that he did for Madonna’s MDNA 2012 tour.

fashion illustration by Jean Paul Gaultier 2012

Vogue illustration by Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna’s MDNA Tour 2012

On the lookout for extra information on style illustration as collectable objects, view our weblog from March 14, 21, entitled Wanting For a Scorching Funding Tip? Strive Collectioning Vogue Illustrations.

With the arrival of computer-assisted design, style illustration has develop into a luxurious for many style designers today. Nevertheless, at UoF we nonetheless promote hand drawn style by our Vogue Artwork self-discipline consisting of 27 Newbie, 39 Intermediate and 17 Superior classes. We educate how to attract, render and illustrate style design and equipment and so it’s no marvel that we’re head-over-heels excited to see the Lagerfeld present on the MET. Viva La Vogue Illustration!  Viva Lagerfeld!









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