Holiday Commission

Tonight on my way home from Chinese and a movie with grandma I passed by a Barney's Co-op store. I noticed their holiday windows resembled the current E-Drop Off windows (shown here) which are entirely comprised of my illustrations! I have yet to share them, so I figured better late than never, right?
The first time I was commissioned to illustrate for them (here) the designs were completely item focused to coincide with the different tabs of their site. For this round of illustrations I was asked to draw two "winter chic" girls, one "holiday party girl" with a banner, a plush holiday garland with designer logo ornaments and a truly unique snowflake comprised of the E-Drop Off logo (or seven of them actually!)
It's so cool to see my illustrations blown up so large, I wish I could see them in person. Unfortunately I don't have plans to hit Chicago anytime soon, so these photo's from the E-Drop crew are going to have to suffice. I hope everyone has a happy and fabulously chic holiday season! To see more of my work for E-Drop Off you can check out their website.

Bridal Illustrations: Kate Middleton

(Vera Wang and Jason Wu)
Truly iconic wedding dresses rarely come along and when they do they create a tsunami of change in the industry. Kate Middleton's wedding dress has the potential to be the gown of the century, now the question is who will design it?
(Prabal Gurung)
Since first learning of the royal wedding announcement I've been anticipating the dress and the designer illustrations that will appear vying for the chance to be "the one" Kate choses. Thankfully Women's Wear Daily did all the work and asked designers to share what they had in mind for the future Princess. Here are a few of my favorites, both for the dress design and the fashion illustration.
(Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli for Valentino)
Its so interesting to me to see designer illustrations. Some are so detailed and "readable" (like this Valentino) and others are super stylized (like the Badgley Mischka or Chado Ralph Rucci).
(Badgley Mischka and JCrew)
I suppose both have their purpose and it depends on the goal of the sketch for each designer. Is it to sell the dress and make the design completely understandable or is it simply used as a marketing tool to expand the brand, its esthetic, and to give the gist of their vision?
(Chado Ralph Rucci)
My prediction for this royal-wedding dress is it will be a departure from the strapless gowns that have become so common. I imagine Kate will look sophisticated and beautiful while being modestly covered in intricate details like freshwater pearl embroidery (as seen on the Chado gown) or layers of delicate chattily lace. Unlike the over the top opulence of Diana's 1981 gown but not nearly as minimal as Caroline Bisset Kennedy's, which the JCrew design reminds me of. (Although a beautiful interpreted sketch, is a little too minimal for this royal wedding.) I also assume Kate will choose a British designer.
(Nina Ricci and Lela Rose)
Even though you may not be Kate Middleton or marrying Prince William you too can have a custom bridal illustration. (Shameless plug time) You can click here and here to examples of my custom fashion illustrations for brides, as well as reading through some of my past posts labeled bridal. And to to see a slideshow of all the designer sketches WWD released click here.

Costume Illustration: Giorgio Armani

When someone says "Armani" I think of sophisticated Italian tailored suits and sleek evening wear. Recently though, Giorgio Armani has been branching out into jaw dropping theatrical show stoppers, starting with these designs for Lady Gaga. I remember watching Gaga perform at the Grammy's in this heart-shaped leotard (below) and thinking it would be a great look to illustrate. I never actually did it, so I was exited to stumble upon the Armani illustration.
I love they way the beading is rendered! The entire garment glistens. And in the sketch below there are all these little flecks of color that make the drawing appear iridescent. Its great to see a designer fully render a garment. Although stylized illustrations can be fabulous, I think its nice to see all the details and get a full understanding of the design.
Armani has now moved on to design the tour wardrobe for Alicia Keys' "Element of Freedom" European tour. The looks are not as dramatic or avant garde as the Gaga design's but they do have the glitz and glam that you expect from a pop star performance and a design legend.
This last group (below) actually reminds me of the "art test" part of my application to FIT's fashion design department. I had to create a concert wardrobe for one of my favorite singers. I chose Ms. Whitney Houston. She was touring at the time and was wearing only Dolce and Gabbana. (Maybe I'll share it sometime if I can find it.) Anyone apply to FIT lately? I wonder if this is still part of the application and art test.
I love seeing, and collecting, designer fashion illustrations, and its all the more exciting when they're costume designs! Hopefully Armani will set the set the trend here and more designers will share their sketches.

(Random side note: I was once asked to illustrate Alicia, and the sketch was actually given to her. It was years ago, and one of my first red carpet illustrations. My work has improved a lot since then, but you can check it out here.)

Fashionable Gifts

Over the past few weeks I've been hard at work illustrating and designing new products. I've been stocking up for the gift fairs I'm participating in, in addition to building up my shop inventory.
New to my collection are sets of flat note cards (shown above Carrie and Vogue). I love flat note cards, and have been using them for years. (Ever since Oprah and Bill Clinton discussed on air how important it is to write a thank you or correspondence note on one-single side of a card, just in case its ever framed. Who knows, maybe one day a note from me will be frame worthy!?!) In addition to the Oprah and Bill seal of approval I do feel its a very chic and sophisticated way to send a note.
I've also made new holiday cards, gift tags in different shapes and themes, as well as new magnets (shown below) featuring five of my most popular fashion illustrations. I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed making them. If you follow my work and are a Fabulous Doodles reader, but a custom illustration is out of your budget why not purchase some of these new little items from my shop, Brooklit.
If you're in the NY/NJ area come visit me at the two gift fairs I'm participating in (info here), both of which are free admission. There are more new items I'll be selling I just haven't had time to photograph them and put them online yet. Cheers!

5th Avenue Holiday Windows

Late friday night I wrangled two friends and strolled along 5th Avenue. It was the ideal November night to take in the holiday windows before the crazy crowds descend and the air gets bitter cold.
This years windows are so whimsical that I thought I would share a few of my pictures here since they could be an incredible source of inspiration for a illustrations, maybe even a whole collection. Bergdorf Goodman had the most elaborate windows of the night. The theme depicted throughout them is "Wish you Were Here" and features far-off fantasy scenes and creatures, like a knitted flying horse (shown above).
"The Moon" window was spectacular, and my favorite. It was a monochromatic color scheme (which I'm always drawn to) of icy blues and silvers. Each element glistened with layers of intricate detailing highlighted with Swarovski crystals. There were crocodiles, crystals, crowns and even a crane!
Bergdorfs has glamour and glitz, historical references and even some kitschy/campy oversized signs but they aren't the only store making a statement this holiday season.
Bendels (below) has displayed a pastel fairy-tale and the entire Fendi building is wrapped in two of their classic belts made of "dripping" icicle lights.
We did some window shopping, chowed down on street vender roasted nuts, gawked at the girls camped outside H&M waiting to be the first to get their hands on bargain Lavin, and even stumbled upon a Mariah Carey concert in Rockefeller Center. It was really a fun and spontaneous night that just may be the start of a new tradition.
For a visual history of Bergdorf windows you can pick up the new 17 pound Assouline book: Windows of Bergdorf Goodman for a mere $550! (here) The Saks windows are being unveiled tomorrow, should you be in the neighborhood I'm sure they'll be worth a stop. (Bloomingdales however, were terrible so don't bother!) Which stores have your favorite windows this season?

Holiday Gift Sales

This holiday season I'm participating in two charitable gift sales with my fashion illustrations! What's even more exciting is that both are free and open to the public.
To kick off Chanukah, on thursday Dec 2nd I will be at the Jewish Enrichment Center's holiday gift sale. Its an after work event, right here in Manhattan on West 13th Street. A percent of the proceeds of each item sold will go to the Birthright Israel Alumni Community. I've been working on new products and I plan to offer a wide selection of prints, cards, gift tags, bookmarks and pocket mirrors from my shop. (Just in case you need more incentive to stop by, there will be Chanukah latkes and wine!)
In addition to participating in the sale as a vendor, I was asked to design a few graphics for the website and newsletters. I went with a stack of gifts (shown above) and this couple shopping for the invite and website. (I tend to avoid drawing men but it was necessary here, so it didn't look like a girls night out event.)
The second sale I'm participating in is just across the Hudson. Holiday Expressions: An Evening of Art will be out in Rutherford New Jersey on December 9th. A portion of the proceeds from all the artwork sold will help support the Rutherford Food Bank and the Good Shepherd Church.

For details on the Dec. 2nd sale click here for the Jewish Enrichment Center, and for the Dec. 9th sale click here for the Holiday Expressions facebook page. Hope to see you there!

She's a Sketch

Living in Manhattan its hard to miss all the beautiful girls abound. Within the group, there are a select few that can only be described, at least to this fashion illustrator, as "A Sketch." Its girls who have that je ne sais quoi. A combination of the modelesque physique paired with a flawlessly chic fashion sense. Charlotte here, who I spotted in the Meatpacking District, is surely one of them!
Frequently I'm asked what inspires me. New York and more importantly, New Yorkers, always come to mind. (Here's a old post with some more.) So I've decided to share some of the girls here on Fabulous Doodles in a new feature called "She's a Sketch." I can't really take the credit for this one though. It was my good friend Renaldo whom I've featured here a few times before whom first coined the phrase. Years ago while strolling down the street with Ren, he elbowed me and pointed to a passerby saying "she's a sketch!" Ever since, we're constantly spotting "sketches." (Now I just need the confidence to approach em and ask to snap a pic!)

Chic Cape Illustrations

A chill has officially hit the New York air and its given me the itch to find the perfect fall cape. I was hopping around online, searching my go-to online stores for the right one for me. After an hour or so I decided to give it a rest and catch up on some of my favorite blogs. . .So what do I see on the very first blog I click on, Garance Dore, but this uber charming and chic capped sketch! I've gushed over Garance in the past (here), but I felt like I had to share this story with you and repost her capped sketch along with one of mine. I love it when things like this happen!
Nearly two years ago after a trip to Iceland, inspired by all the caped Icelandic girls I spotted, I drew Dylan here. She's been up in my Etsy shop for a while, and is one of my personal favorites. (She was also the illustration I chose for my very first Fabulous Doodles post.)

Childrenswear: Carmen

Last week I was asked by a client to work on something a little different, a fashion illustration of a chic 8 year old girl. To design her outfit I was given all the inspiration images below, along with a few directions for tweaks, such as add a third buckle to the coat, change the dress to a light floral print, and so on. I think Carmen here came out adorable, and is kind of making me want to draw more kids. (Although to be honest in the past they haven't really sold well in my etsy shop.)
(Clockwise: Coat e.BoutiqueMaje, Dress Zara, Bag Proenza Schouler at Barneys, Boots Jcrew Girls.)

Red Carpet Moment: Lauren Miller

I'm excited to share my most recent fashion illustration from the red carpet, its of Lauren Miller, who just so happens to be my beautiful cousin. Lauren chose this incredible brown lace and pink chiffon gown designed by J. Mendel to wear to the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

Lauren may soon have two Brooke Hagel originals because the same week I completed this illustration and wrapped it to send off to her, Seth popped the question! There's no doubt Lauren will be a stunning bride. I can't wait to see the dress she picks and sketch her a custom bridal illustration.

Mini Portfolio {New Business Cards}

I absolutely love my new business cards, as does everyone I hand them to. I recently designed my first set of Moo cards and I can say with 100% certainly that once you go Moo there's no going back. The cards are heavy weight, have a smooth satin finish and show off every intricate detail of my fashion illustrations. With Moo your able to upload as many as 100 different images to each card order. This means that whenever I'm describing what I do to someone new I can now show them all my cards, a sort of mini portfolio, and let them chose the fashion illustration they like best to keep, with my shop website, blog, and contact info.
I uploaded 8 of my favorite sketches, but I'm thinking I may just place another soon to throw a few more illustrations into the mix. Perhaps a few more of my brides or red carpet looks. It also may be nice to use Moo to create my next round of gift tags for the holidays, since the cards are printing are such high quality. . .What can I say, I guess I'm addicted to Moo.

Bride Paper Dolls

At the risk of sounding full of myself, how adorable are these bridal paper dolls I illustrated?!?! As a child I absolutely loved playing with paper dolls and their different outfits, accessories, and hairstyles.
I was hired to sketch these two brides, as well as two wedding dress options, for Studio Wed's Atlanta Bridal Expo invitation. Not only was it my first time sketching paper dolls, but it was also my first time seeing my work printed by a letterpress printer.
I really love how it turned out, I just wish I had two copies so one could go in my flat portfolio and I could "play" with the other; pop all the pieces out, stand them up, and maybe even walk them down an imaginary isle. . .ahh to be a kid again.

Inside the Sketchbook: Club Monaco

I happen to live a few blocks away from a Club Monaco store that I pass by multiple times everyday. The window displays and merchandising are always superb but this week they literally stopped me in my tracks. The entire window consists of fashion illustrations that look like they're ripped right from a designers sketchbook! The first time I walked by was evening and the store was closed so I had to settle for taking some pictures and letting my mind wander; are they student work, are they the interns, or are they from the Club Monaco design team?
Well I went back during store hours, spoke with the manager, and after she did a little research she called me with the answer! All the illustrations are by one woman: Caroline Belhumeur, Club Monaco's Vice President of Women's Design Apparel and Accessories.
I adore Caroline's technique and the way she uses simple contouring without loosing any design details. I also love that the croquis are so well-styled and complete with glasses, handbags, and even jewelry. The original illustrations can be seen in the 57th street store and all the other stores display copies. I absolutely love this concept for store displays. You get to see how the designer intended for the clothing to look, get styling ideas, and see the fabulous fashion illustrations that started it all.
These sketches inspire me to pick up my sketchbook and a pencil and let the idea's flow. Lately my sketches are solely for clients and have a distinct direction, such as a "profile of a bride." Its hard sometimes to make time for sketching for the sake of sketching.

Thank you Shannon, for using your investigation skills and helping me out!

Fashion Week Spring 2011

(Peter Som and Monique Lhuillier)
New York Fashion Week is well underway so what better time to feature designer fashion illustrations from the collections. I love the simplicity of the fine pencil lines of this Peter Som sketch, and the heavy pen line and lack of skin tone in the Monique Lhuillier illustration frames the soft and frilly dress perfectly.
(Nanette Lepore and Tibi)
I haven't used watercolors since college but these illustrations from Nanette Lepore and Tibi make be want to dust off my brushes and play.
(Ella Moss and Peter Som)
Rendering patterns accurately can be a challenge, but Ella Moss makes it look effortless in her illustration of printed separates. And the Adam sketch appears quick and casual yet its completely readable and charming.

I discovered these sketches in the newest Pantone color trend report. Ten colors are highlighted throughout the report that are trending in fashion for the spring/summer 2011 season.

Fashion's Night Out: THE SHOW

Two nights ago I had the privilege of attending "The Show" hosted by Anna Wintour and Vogue. It's said to have been the largest public fashion show of all time. Over 150 models including Gisele Bundchen, Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede, and Adriana Lima walked the breathtaking circular runway in Lincoln Center's Plaza. It was an incredible show that still has me on a fashion high two days later. Which ideally was one of the goals of the show, to get people amped to go out and spend for tomorrows 2nd annual Fashion's Night Out extravaganza. (Here's my post from last year's inaugural night.)

The evening was flawless, right down to the seating which was a star-burst formation with the dancing fountain at the center. The runway spiraled outward and I was seated at the end of the aisle and in a section that was a single row. This meant that I had models coming in right behind me, walking in front of me, and leaving along side me. It was crazy.
At exactly 7:30, just after the sun set and the buildings began to glow, Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" began to play while fuschia spot lights whipped all around. Heads were whirling around fiercely trying to see where the models would emerge from when a double decker NYC tour bus pulled up with dancing and screaming models. The Show was absolutely spectacular. Seven trends were showcased: Tartan Twist, Pure at Heart, Fifties Flair, Jazz-Age Cool, Weekend Wrap-Up, Go Global, and Rock Chic.
Photography was prohibited, but once the show started I noticed everyone whipping out their iPhones and camera's so I joined in! I not only took these photo's but caught a few seconds of video as well! (Shh, don't tell.)

The Show was only 15 or 20 spectacular minutes. Right as it ended Pharrell jumped up on the fountain for a little closing performance. Once that was over I immediately headed over to the VIP area near the fountain where I caught glimpses (and some pictures) of Michael Kors, Seth Myers, Roger Federer (who I actually saw win a match in the US Open the previous night!), Harvey Weinstein, Vera Wang, and the queen herself, Ms. Anna Wintour. (Whom one of my very first blog posts was about, click here to read it.) I will soon post all of my pictures on my Facebook fanpage and will add a link to that here once I do.
I've been to a bunch of fashion week shows before, but there's no doubt this one will be at the top of my list for a while! I had my doubts about Fashion Week moving but if this first show is any indicator of whats to come, bring it on. Dying to see more, don't worry, the entire show is due to air on CBS Sept 14th at 10PM, so set your dvr now.

(Lincoln Center overhead image: by Tom and Lorenzo, pink-lit Lincoln Center image: Roxy Victoria, All other images and video: Brooke Hagel)

New to my shop: Olivia

It's been a while but hopefully its worth the wait. I've just added an elegant new bride to my Etsy shop named Olivia. I drew her a few months ago while working on a wedding poster of multiple brides (which I've yet to finish.) I forgot about Olivia until a client emailed me asking if I had anymore African-American brides which prompted me to go through my files and gather a few options to show her. The client chose Olivia, and since printing the illustration out, she's become one of my favorites. If you'd like a print of Olivia you can purchase her through the listing here.