In collaboration with Summer Streets, the weekly event hosted on Regent Street during July, the CreateVoice team and the Victoria and Albert Museum set up a pop up shop in central London on Sunday 20 July. With a fashion based theme for that week’s Summer Streets, the V&A continued celebrating their successful run of fashion exhibitions this year, namely Wedding Dresses and The Glamour of Italian Fashion, with a fashion themed shop and free Fashion Illustration workshops.
The pop up shop was abundant with beautiful art books and merchandise commemorating the exhibitions, bringing the V&A shop to the streets notorious for high fashion. Understandably, it was popular with the crowds who were dedicating their day to a fashion extravaganza. As part of the pop up shop, CreateVoice were lucky enough to be joined by fashion illustrator, Stuart McKenzie, who hosted free fashion illustration workshops which were were open to everyone and ran throughout the day.
With the walls covered in posters displaying a range of his illustrations, from bold multi-media beauty illustrations to sketchy designs evoking the movement of catwalk models, there was plenty of inspiration. Stuart, who has worked for designers such as Vivienne Westwood, first encouraged the workshop to develop techniques to create a free and loose style of illustration. Asking us to forget perfectionism, we began by exploring different methods of holding our pens to create a series of sketches. He then progressed our illustrations by giving demonstrations, followed by a short amount of time for us to practise drawing with continuous lines and silhouettes. Stuart also helped us consider light and shade within our work.
With a range of people attending the workshops, from fine art students to engineers, we all soon grew more confident with layering and mixing media and methods. Continuing to look at form, we used fast strokes and lines to build up figures, a style Stuart described as often being used by illustrators who need to speedily sketch down designs as models parade down catwalks. This technique was perfect for using as a basis to then embellish with the large frills and dramatic cuts found in the world of haute couture fashion shows. To finish the workshop, Stuart taught us a couple of ways to illustrate fashion style proportions and add editorial style exaggerated poses.
It seemed that everyone who attended free classes thoroughly enjoyed Stuart’s workshop and found it to be a great insight in to how to develop a unique style using the techniques shown. The event proved to be a triumph, involving the Summer Streets audience creatively and reaffirming the V&A’s success in hosting some of the best fashion exhibitions of the year.
Words: Caroline Brown
Images: © Victoria and Albert Museum
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