“J’adore ma Choupette, mais when she turns tail…it tears me apart! Everytime.”
(note the tiny man in black above!)
This is the story of how this portrait of Karl and Choupette was inspired by the annoying pony tail of my friend “Coco” (her real nickname.) At a bar one night, Coco’s pony tail was whipping me in my face every time she turned around.
First, an interlude. I am writing this post just as Karl’s Chanel’s airport-themed show in Paris is happening. Strap yourself in, this is the invite to the Chanel show and now… my little story of how a kitty tail whipping revealed the heart of The Kaiser, Karl Lagerfeld.
I came home from the bar-tail-whipping and drew this sketch of a little ponytail and wrote, “Love ‘Coco’ but when she turns her ‘tail,’ it knocks me out every time!” intending to draw the little humorous scenario the next day.
On next day, when I began to think about how to draw Karl Lagerfeld for Paris Fashion Week coming up, I had a few sketches drawn and then my eye caught this little pony tail drawing on my desk.
I filled it in…it looked just like a sad Karl, vulnerable in a dramatic cape or dressing gown at home.
Karl is one of the most confident humans on the planet…with all the sartorial symbols and attitude worthy of a distinctive, warrior-like portrait.
However, drawing that would be too easy. I find that when I follow the trail of subconscious symbols winking at me, the real portrait appears.
The tail switching in my drawing made me think of Karl’s famous princess cat, Choupette, (owner of two maids and an Instagram account.) When she’s upset…or ‘turns tail’…this may be the only thing in the whole Universe that saddens The Kaiser!
I like seeing the vulnerability in powerful people. Certainly Karl is a very thoughtful, sensitive man with a knowledge and interest in many subjects, although he bellows and issues proclamations, leading one to philosophical questions, beyond fashion. Having stood in his presence several times, as he clipped out “missives” I can vouch for this!
Chanel’s signature quilting conveys status by way of comfort, a cross-hatch inspired by the tweeds and plaids of Scottish hunters as camouflage. This play of opposites is the dynamic of our world. The windows, the portes, the gates through which we frame and see the world.
Anything soft and fluffy is our emotions floating, through.
I didn’t have to do a lot of visual research for this one, I live with a cat. In googling, I did come across this sappy white kitten, very Princess. Her fur got me tearing up white paper for the fur in the drawing. The white lightening soon followed.
Choupette’s fluff and kitty fur frenzy called for the seat-belt-securely-fastened-in of Karl’s Chanel show invitation. The ‘kitty-korner’ borders, much like the Chanel interlocking ‘C’s’ came next.
Coincidence that the tail of a French girl named “Coco” inspired this image?
I must have been “Chanel-ing” the real Coco Chanel.
I will offer a print of Choupette and Karl soon on my site, have a look here in the meanwhile!
Filed under: FASHION, MAGICAL BEINGS, PARIS | Leave a Comment
Tags: #PFW, chanel, Choupette, coco chanel, illustration, karl lagerfeld, Paris Fashion Week, portrait, sketch
Love affairs with Italy are like living in a sensory masterpiece. If you’ve never rode a Vespa in the Tuscan hills in a haze of fireflies; breathed in Lake Como’s cool, magical, early am mist; savored the earth in a Piedmont organic wine or kissed a hot Italian with long, rivulets of curly hair in a tight T-shirt wet with desire, balancing on cobblestones throbbing with the horses thundering 20-feet away in Siena’s Palio…well, then you haven’t lived.
I suppose, having done those things, I have truly lived…yet, magical beings are Great Italian Love Songs, forever a siren to my heart.
Vogue Italia, and its editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani reign as large for me as Michelangelo, Sophia Loren, Bellini, Botticelli, Fellini, or that space between God’s finger and Adam in the Sistine Chapel.
When you meet her in person, as I have, she is a tiny glowing light, with cascading golden waves of hair and brilliant blue eyes like the sea of Botticell’s Venus. Radiating just as one who has re-invented a fashion magazine as a cultural flashlight, shining a light on social, political, racial, and environment sustainability issues should radiate, a beacon.
What other fashion luminary is Ambassador Against Hunger of the United Nations World Food Programme? Consider Sozzani’s “The Black Issue,” entirely devoted to the beauty of black women. Her “Makeover” issue explored plastic surgery. Her initiatives in Africa are one of the reasons we met and the L’Uomo Vogue “Rebranding Africa” issue, was awarded several international prizes.
As September 2015’s Milan Fashion Week ends, here is the behind-the-scenes story of my illustration of Franca Sozzani.
Exactly why this K-tel Records album cover pulsated with that 1960’s film light that runs through the blood of Italians and Italy I cannot explain. But when great art hits you…you obey. The golden lettering felt cheesy and brilliant at the same time.
I had just seen John Singer Sargent’s portraits of the art collector, philanthropist, and impressario, Isabella Stewart Gardner at the Met Museum in NYC. Her tight black dress against the pattern rug, radiating, made me think of Franca’s combination of old-world Italian beauty combined with a libertine kind of flying, a way of perceiving and embracing the world…
or a building or a poster like this one by Giacomo Balla, Abstract Speed + Sound, circa 1913–1914.
And her most recent red carpet look, this Valentino dress, something ecstatic between flowers, tapestry and digital game patterns.
This dress perhaps encapsulates this LOVE I have for Franca. The abstract, humanitarianism, and connection to the vital, the nature of life’s timeless expression. Standing in a long line from Renaissance artisans to Fiorucci to Valentino and Prada and Franca’s art of expanding the role of media, this is what makes her a true pioneer. This is my ‘love song’ to her!
My illustration of Franca Sozzani will be available on my shop, The Jade Dress Shop.
Filed under: ART, FASHION, ITALY, MAGICAL BEINGS, STYLE, WOMEN | Leave a Comment
Tags: #MFW, Africa, Art, editor-in chief, fashion illustration, Franca Sozzani, Italian, magazine, milan fashion week, Prada, sketch, Vogue Italia
Meeeow! All hail the Queens I would love in the front row for my New York Fashion Week show!
Caitlyn Jenner, Anna Wintour, and Beyonce make a nice trio of Kittens for the Catwalk!
The inspiration began with Anna and her iconic, yogic Eagle pose she curls into when in the front row.
I was struck how this pose reminded me of my favorite guardians in New York City, the row of Sahkmet goddesses at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Caitlyn came next…who else will be the Star of NY Fashion Week 2015? She declined to walk the runway and I don’t know if she is attending, however, this lioness deserves to lounge on the front row. The “Hello Kitty” on her dress was not planned…I just heard it in my head after drawing Caitlyn as a large kitty. In part this is due to the “Call Me Caitlyn” greeting that forevermore will be her mantra.
My image of her was also inspired, of course, by her Vanity Fair cover…
Beyonce is #3 Goddess, just for her bouncy all-around, wholesome goodness. That’s 95% of the crowd at Fashion Week and her golden dress and tresses from photos inspired her innocent “Me! Wow” meow comment.
The image of serene Beyonce while North West wailed was my starting point as I love her golden, ego-less, not-my-kid, put-a-drink-on-it, Lioness image:
On top of it all, the way each person rarely relates to the other, and affects an isolated “game-face” while sitting in the front row is as endlessly fascinating (sometimes more than) what pads by on the runway.
Today is the opening day of NY Fashion Week 2015…let’s see if this trio of Lion Queens becomes catwalk history!
Filed under: FASHION, MAGICAL BEINGS, NEW YORK, NEW YORK Style, STYLE, WOMEN | Leave a Comment
Tags: #nyfw, 2015, anna wintour, Beyonce, Caitlyn Jenner, cat walk, front row, lionesses, Lions of NY, NEW YORK, ny fashion week, Sahkmet