I’m in an illustrator’s state of mind. And I’m not alone: The editors at V magazine, where I’m the editor at large, decided on an illustration theme for our May issue. (On stands now: Look for Miley Cyrus wearing mens underpants on the cover.) In the magazine we reminisce on the career of influential artist Antonio Lopez, and I did a fabulous story on the illustrator known by only one name: Risko. So when I stumbled across the blog Fashion Cartoonist, which imagines fashion celebrities as ultra glamorous and slightly ridiculous youngsters, I had to meet the person behind it. The one hook: He (or she?) wants to remain anonymous. But I contacted him (or her?) and managed to cull some inspiring information anyway.
Anna Dello Russo as imagined by the Fashion Cartoonist
I think we’re having an illustration renaissance in fashion. Antonio Lopez’s Book definitely had an impact earlier this year, and magazines like Vanity Fair Are turning to illustrators more often, even for their year best dressed lists. So, why do you think we’re seeing this?
I love those graceful and elegant illustrations! I guess in these days of ever present videos and photographs, instantly shared by anybody, a drawing brings a very personal perspective and a certain old school flair. Since mine are focused on achieving a comic effect, I’d call myself a cartoonist more than an illustrator.
When did you start your drawings? How long does it take to do one?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember, but I started the fashion cartoons only last April. I carry around a small sketchbook to jot down ideas when they struck me. I could think of ten all at once. But I could obsess for days over one detail when I’m actually creating the cartoon.
Why did you start doing fashion people? Do you think they are ripe for parody?
My ‘day job’ is in the fashion industry, so inspiration is simply around me every day. Who knows? Maybe if I worked in the food industry I’d be drawing caricatures of famous chefs when they were kids.
You once said Tom Ford was too perfect to draw. Who’s fun to draw? Who else is impossible to draw?
I enjoy drawing Anna Wintour as a kid who would not take off her sunglasses even at bedtime. The difficult ones are those that are hard to imagine when they were kids. For example, how would I do a toddler Waris, when his most recognizable feature is a long beard?! Luckily he also wears a turban, so I might still find a way!
Why are you staying anonymous? In this day of omnipresent bloggers and social media, I didn’t think anyone wanted to anonymous anymore.
I simply thought it would be more fun this way! I want the focus to be on my drawings, not on me. Now I will need to stay anonymous until I find a good enough excuse to come out. Maybe a book signing one day?
Can you at least give me some basic bio information: Male or female? 20’s or 30’s? Are you a vegan?
Fine: I eat everything. The natural curiosity that helps me find ideas for my cartoons extends also to my relationship with food.
I guess that’s all I’m going to get. I know your blog plays into the humorous side of the early development stages of these major personalities, but it got me thinking: Do you think that a inherent trait like personal style starts to form at that stage? Like, do you think Andre Leon Talley really did wrap himself in carpets as a predecessor to the cape?
The cartoons purposefully distort and exaggerate the behaviors I imagine, but in some cases I have a feeling I may not be too far from the truth! When people have such creativity, genius and of course attitude – I really believe it must have appeared in some way when they were kids too.
Let’s talk about the blog. Is it a hobby, or one day a commercial venture? Do you plan on selling prints?
It definitely started as a hobby. But it is getting more attention than I ever thought, so who knows? Would you buy a print?
Absolutely! OK, last question: Which is your favorite illustration?
That’s difficult to answer. Most of the time my favorite is my latest one. So right now I would have to say the one with baby Anna Dello Russo. But the one I day after that one will probably be my favorite.
Who will that be?
I’m not telling.