Fashion without the illustration is like a dress without the fabric. Illustrators have been the first “photographers” of trends, until they become true artists of drawing.
The fashion illustration started with the painting or plastic depictions: the late-Gothic plates by Pisanello have to be considered one of the first examples of fashion sketches. During the XVI° century, many artists spent some time by studying the clothing, as the representation of embroideries, draping and fabrics kept improving. The real turning point happened with the publishing of essays about costume, that started spreading since the middle XVII° century, and of which the etchings by Hollar are a perfect example. The first illustrated plates appeared in 1759 on The Lady’s Magazine; while in the late XIX° century their upgrade occurred, as they started being considered as real artists, thanks to the spread of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue, where the fashion illustration are an essential part of the editorial project.
– text by Vogue Italia Encyclo at vogue.it