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    Fashion Illustration

    I've always wondered why fashion illustration requires a very stylized anatomy. My friend that her drawings were rejected for fashion because it wasn't stylized enough. So, does anyone know why fashion has to employ such stylized anatomy as opposed to real proportional anatomy?

    *Shakes your hand*
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    The point of fashion illustration is to convey a sense, a "feel" of the clothes.
    The way they hang, the way they flow.
    It's nothing to do with the imaginary "people" underneath, they are there as clothes hangers and nothing else, much like the models.
    The 9-11ish heads high proportions are unrealistic but then so are the Superhero proportions in all comic books.
    You may as well ask "Why are all superheroes 6'7"? or "Why are all barbarians heavily muscled but tanned white guys"?

    Just because, that's what the editor asked for.

    You don't really give us details here but I'd guess your friend was likely rejected not because of her drawings but because she didn't do any research into what her subject required..ie massively elongated elegant line drawings.

    Edit: a couple of primers on the subject..
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Years-Fashio.../dp/1856694623
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Masters-Fash...722645-2371239

    Optional tiny "Readers Digest" cheat sheet..
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Fashion-...722645-2371239

    Last edited by Flake; March 29th, 2012 at 09:44 PM.
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    I think that's a really good question...never quite understood it either and I've followed fashion a bit over the years. Iunderstand stylizing to a certain degree...but they usually push it much farther than seems reasonable.

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    The totally wacky high concept fashion is just that, but a watered down version will appear on the catwalk next season.

    Same with the insane 11 head tall model sketches, that gets moderated a bit when they realise tall women only actually come in 8-9 heads high.
    It's a high concept that gets altered to fit reality.

    Also, hey those wacky artist types ...

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    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Trust me, if the fashion industry could genetically engineer eleven-head tall women with six-head legs, no breasts, and no brains, they would.


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    It is crazy though.
    If you want to convey what a proposed design might look like then it needs to be as literal as you can make it.
    What it is really, is dress design draughting dogma covering up inability to draw.
    The fashion emperor's new clothes.

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    Theres always that tension between emperors new cloths syndrome and genuine style...

    i guess sometimes highly stylised illustration is used a lot to sell ideas to higher ups, car design sketches are preposterous sometimes but help suck and flatter (sounds obscene, is) the accountants the drama of a new supercar.. where they fall down is when some boring supermini gets the same treatment.

    i really like haute couture (spelling?) fashion btw. in amongst the silliness is genuine beauty.






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    There is a big difference between fashion design and fashion illustration. They should not be confused. Also, the scribbles of a celebrity designer may or may not bear any resemblance to the final item of clothing. Pattern makers work from orthos just like 3d artists. And just like fake concept art used to promote games, fashion illustrations are often made after the clothes exist.

    11 heads tall drawings may look elegant, but it's often not possible to transpose a design made for a silhouette like that into real clothes, just because you can put 3 cargo pockets on the length of that leg doesn't mean you can do that with normal people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    11 heads tall drawings may look elegant, ...
    They would look beter with that second set of arms in there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    What it is really, is dress design draughting dogma covering up inability to draw.
    The fashion emperor's new clothes.
    This is exactly what I've always thought as well Scott. Never bothered me too much because it is clearly insular to their industry/arena.

    And good point Qitsune - I always assumed at some point the real work has to get done by people making clothes my wife can wear. She's only 9 heads tall...but has a great rack and huge hips.

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    Quitsune has it right. The bulk of fashion design is highly technical and needs to be accurate as all hell because someone will eventually need to make it. Fashion design is similar to, say, architectural drafting... It may start with vague scribbled ideas for overall look and feel, but then there's patterns (think of these as the blueprints) and flats showing a garment as accurately as possible (think of these as the projection view...)

    Then there's fashion illustration, which has always existed purely to sell the clothes. And what you're selling when you sell clothes is the idea of the clothes: the glamour, the cachet, the "style"... For that, exaggerated "stylish" images work better than accurate images. Fashion photography gets as exaggerated as it can for the same reason... It might be photography, but after the makeup, lighting tricks, ice cubes, gaffer's tape, binder clips, and airbrushing from hell, it is in no way realistic.

    I might also point out that making people ridiculously tall for added glamour is a convention that's been going on for centuries. Look at Van Dyke's portraits... Or anything by Parmigianino...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    Theres always that tension between emperors new cloths syndrome and genuine style...
    The biggest mystery about Haute Couture is exactly who do these fashion designers sell their "exotic" designs to.
    Look at these:


    Nobody with a sane mind is going to wear these kind of fantasy outfits. In fact, I don't even remember seeing any Hollywood star wearing these stuff to red carpet events. And the rich, upper society ladies are even more unlikely to wear these costumes to the ball or in their daily lives.

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    I would totally wear the first one if I could afford it...

    I've seen outfits like those in certain nightclubs. Except they're homemade and worn by people with limited income...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    Nobody with a sane mind is going to wear these kind of fantasy outfits. In fact, I don't even remember seeing any Hollywood star wearing these stuff to red carpet events. And the rich, upper society ladies are even more unlikely to wear these costumes to the ball or in their daily lives.
    Insert Japanese RPG joke here.

    I'd imagine it's more about making something to show off the creativity of your studio than something you're actually selling. Digital artist have Dominance War and GDC, and fashion studios have couture.

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    yeah, i guess haute couture one-offs are halo products to generate PR, much as wacky concept cars add some glamour to boring car stands

    i think they look amazing

    "Look at Van Dyke's portraits"

    For such a small place Cambridge has 2 ridiculous art galleries in the middle of town, one of which is like a pocket-sized Tate Britain... its great being a 10 minute skate from Cezanne, Rubens, Titian, Hals, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Picasso but one of my favourites is Van Dyck, you can spend ages just looking at his stuff its rad

    if youre ever in this part of the world definitely check it out.

    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; March 30th, 2012 at 11:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    Nobody with a sane mind is going to wear these kind of fantasy outfits. In fact, I don't even remember seeing any Hollywood star wearing these stuff to red carpet events. And the rich, upper society ladies are even more unlikely to wear these costumes to the ball or in their daily lives.
    There are incredibly rich women who collect couture the way their husbands collect cars or paintings. Wearing isn't the point as much as having.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    .... one of which is like a pocket-sized Tate Britain...
    Are you referring to Kettle's Yard?

    I'm gong to have my ashes smuggled in there and brushed quietly into the floorboards... preferably under the grand piano next to the Ben Nicholsons.

    Passed it in the car today in fact, but didn't have time to stop unfortunately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    Nobody with a sane mind is going to wear these kind of fantasy outfits. In fact, I don't even remember seeing any Hollywood star wearing these stuff to red carpet events.
    I could totaly see Bjork and Lady Gaga wearing that stuff, though I guess thats only two people.



    ... ok, your point still stands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    The biggest mystery about Haute Couture is exactly who do these fashion designers sell their "exotic" designs to.

    Nobody with a sane mind is going to wear these kind of fantasy outfits. In fact, I don't even remember seeing any Hollywood star wearing these stuff to red carpet events. And the rich, upper society ladies are even more unlikely to wear these costumes to the ball or in their daily lives.
    It's not really meant to be worn by normal people, shall we say -- it's all custom and expensively made and one-of-a-kind, not the kind of thing you'd ever expect to mass produce. And I think by definition if it is mass produced then it can't be haute couture. If I remember correctly, haute couture is custom made for the wearer, but I wouldn't stake my life on that.

    Anyway, it's supposed to stand alone as artwork, push boundaries and be fantastical. Then, elements of haute couture often end up on the runways in designs that really are meant for wearing, so to speak. For example, in the second photo you posted, they might take elements like a very structured garments, or strong, emphasized shoulders, or feathers, or even just hats. Then, aspects of those runway shows catch on as trends, finding their way into all manner of clothing and accessories. And then, by the time it's everywhere, high fashion has moved on to bigger and better things.

    It's sort of a trickle effect, with haute couture often being at the top. It's bizarre and extreme, but it all gets watered down before anyone really wears it. There aren't a ton of fashion houses that do haute couture anymore -- officially, anyway. Not all ridiculous, unwearable clothing is haute couture and not all haute couture is ridiculous or unwearable. There used to be more than a hundred haute couture houses, but now I think it's less than 20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    Are you referring to Kettle's Yard? I'm gong to have my ashes smuggled in there and brushed quietly into the floorboards... preferably under the grand piano next to the Ben Nicholson's.

    Passed it in the car today in fact, but didn't have time to stop unfortunately.
    It is a good place isnt it.

    No! I was talking about the Fitzherbert in town! have a concealed beer with Cezanne over lunch; good times. Kettles yard was the other one in my 2. If I could teleport the Pitt Rivers here too, Id be done and done

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Trust me, if the fashion industry could genetically engineer eleven-head tall women with six-head legs, no breasts, and no brains, they would.
    Apparently this is partly because breasts and hips are difficult for a fashion designer to wrap their head (and cloth) around. I suspect that once they got started on genetics, we'd eventually just get tall fleshy cylinders wheeling up and down the runways.

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    Oh, boobs aren't that hard to handle. Actually, I'm not sure how mainstream media can be so obsessed with large breasts but some designers (especially couture ones) pretend they don't exist. On the other hand, there are some very nice designs around that fit real women forms, they just aren't pushed on the catwalks it seems.

    By the way, I'm not sure if the standards have changed but not only haute-couture couldn't be mass produced, it had to be shaped on the person and sewn by hand (not on the person though, no one has THAT kind of time.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Trust me, if the fashion industry could genetically engineer eleven-head tall women with six-head legs, no breasts, and no brains, they would.
    I think if I got my eldest son to have a sex change, he might fit that bill.

    I remember Dawn French complaining about haute couture and Vivienne Westwood making her a dress from her collection in Dawn's size - she looked fabulous. Not all designers are so accommodating.

    Sophie Dahl looked tons better before she became like all the rest - a hanger.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    I think if I got my eldest son to have a sex change, he might fit that bill.
    No sex changes necessary. In the future, all models will be Andrej Pejic.






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    I once made a weekend workshop for fashion design and we all did that crazy stylized drawings. But the teacher (who worked in the fashion industry for quite a while) told us that the shows, events, magazines are one world and the real design work a completly other.
    When they work for the design, people actually are going to wear, they aren't looking for style and crazy proportions at all...they have do use realistic proportions. From skinny people to fat people, small to tall, etc...
    And he told us that this is actually way harder to do than that glamorous stuff for magazins etc.

    Of course those shows are just supposed to give fresh ideas and so it's perfectly fine that everything is crazy and unrealistic but since most people who are going to study fashion design will work in the real world it seems quite strange that they always want students to go nuts on stylization...

    @elwell: this is really...ehem...wth....now i'm confused

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    What does fashion design work look like? I only really know of entertainment design.

    Edit: Or I guess my real question is what is the design process to say a dress, coat or hoody that is made to be worn in the real world? How does a 2D artist fit into that process?

    I've never seen any super literal design work for clothing, I'm curious if they do exist?

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    Quote Originally Posted by erinc View Post
    It's not really meant to be worn by normal people, shall we say -- it's all custom and expensively made and one-of-a-kind, not the kind of thing you'd ever expect to mass produce. And I think by definition if it is mass produced then it can't be haute couture. If I remember correctly, haute couture is custom made for the wearer, but I wouldn't stake my life on that.

    Anyway, it's supposed to stand alone as artwork, push boundaries and be fantastical. Then, elements of haute couture often end up on the runways in designs that really are meant for wearing, so to speak. For example, in the second photo you posted, they might take elements like a very structured garments, or strong, emphasized shoulders, or feathers, or even just hats. Then, aspects of those runway shows catch on as trends, finding their way into all manner of clothing and accessories. And then, by the time it's everywhere, high fashion has moved on to bigger and better things.

    It's sort of a trickle effect, with haute couture often being at the top. It's bizarre and extreme, but it all gets watered down before anyone really wears it. There aren't a ton of fashion houses that do haute couture anymore -- officially, anyway. Not all ridiculous, unwearable clothing is haute couture and not all haute couture is ridiculous or unwearable. There used to be more than a hundred haute couture houses, but now I think it's less than 20.
    Ok, now I finally understand the idea behind Haute Couture! Thanks!
    I used to thought they were a waste of time and money and are atrocious and ridiculous (e.g: the designers got nothing better to do than to design weird stuff nobody is gonna wear?), but now I'm enlightened.

    Heck, now I respect H-Couture. They also provide good silhouettes for concept art work.

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    Are there any good blogs/other online sources for things like haute couture (both new and old)? I'm very interested all of a sudden...

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