Fashion Illustration Gallery was founded in 2007 in order to promote and sell original art works and prints made by artists who have worked as fashion illustrators. In 2011 the online FIG Shop was created in order to ease the process of purchasing FIG Prints from the gallery and to introduce to the FIG audience rare magazines and books that feature fashion illustration.
FIG’s inaugural exhibition, 100 Years of Fashion Illustration launched the book of the same name published by Laurence King. Access to the Vogue archive, in Hanover Square, was granted to FIG so that original work by Cecil Beaton, Carl Erickson and René Bouché was exhibited for the first time, alongside works by René Gruau, Antonio Lopez, Mats Gustafson and Jean-Philippe Delhomme. The exhibition was presented at FIG’s first gallery space (sponsored by J&M Davidson) 97, Golborne Road, London W10 5NL. Solo shows by David Downton, Tanya Ling and Francois Berthoud followed before FIG moved to the Mayor Gallery on Cork Street, W1. The first exhibition at The Mayor Gallery presented works made for Vogue China by Marko Matysik. Further exhibitions have presented paintings from Tanya Ling’s Ready to Wear Series, work made at the Paris couture shows by Gladys Perint Palmer, cover art prepared by René Gruau for International Textiles magazine and a group show presented in association with The Victoria & Albert Museum in 2011. The work presented in the FIG/V&A exhibition is now in the V&A’s permanent collection and can be viewed in The Prints & Drawings study room.
Original fashion illustrations commissioned to be reproduced are often very beautiful and desirable as works of art in their own right however, once reproduced, these works were often either discarded or placed in the back of a studio drawer and forgotten. FIG has helped change that. These works deserve attention, the drawing, painting and collage is of the highest quality and the works by the most accomplished artists working in this field are extremely collectable. The sifting process that starts with a young hopeful illustrator, sitting with their portfolio in the foyer of Vogue House hoping for an appointment with the Creative Director, ensures that only those with the greatest talent progress and claim our attention.
Even a brief familiarisation with the history of fashion illustration can be tremendously rewarding. Brilliant observation of detail, style, demeanour and attitude crafted in exceptional drawing and painting is evident in abundance. The market for original works made by the leading practitioners of this genre is emerging and great artists previously overlooked are being rediscovered. The genre is genuinely popular and the popularity is global.
FIG represents many of the most important Fashion Illustrators working today including, Francois Berthoud, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, David Downton, Richard Gray, Tanya Ling, Jason Brooks, Gladys Perint Palmer and Marko Matysik. Between them these artists have made work for virtually every major international fashion magazine as well as a myriad of fashion businesses including Barneys, Selfridges, Louis Vuitton, Viktor & Rolf, Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Burberry.