Thursday, September 22, 2016

George Lepape, Golden Age Fashion Illustrator

Once upon a time, fashion illustration -- be it hand-drawn or photography -- was elegant. Quite unlike the ugly photos of strange looking models that populate both advertising and editorial content in current American fashion-related magazines.

For example, consider Georges Alexandre Adrien Lepape (1887-1971), a mainstay of French fashion illustration from around 1910-1930. His Wikipedia entry (in French) is here. English-language blog posts devoted to him are here and here. A lengthy French post is here.

Lapape's style is regarded as influenced by Japanese prints -- flat areas and thin linework, heavily design oriented.

Lapape married around the time his career was launched, and he had a daughter. For some reason, he seems to have ceased being active in fashion illustration by the very early 1930s, if images found on the Internet are any clue. He is known to have built a house by the Riviera, and died near Châteaudun, southwest of Chartres.


Photo of Lepape
Dressed to the nines.

Pochoir from Les Choses de Paul Poiret - 1911
This publication for the famed couturier launched Lepape's career in fashion illustration.

Vogue (USA) cover - 15 January 1919

Vanity Fair cover - December 1919

L'eventail d'or - Gazette du Bon Ton - March 1920

Les Modes Élégants - fashion spread - 1922

Vogue cover - 1 January 1925
Interesting Voisin car, distorted perspective.

Vogue cover - November 1927

Vogue (USA) cover - 1 May 1928
Tall, narrow skyscrapers, tall, narrow lady.  Very 1920s.

'L'Initiation vénitienne' par Henri de Régnier - 1929

Vogue (France) cover - November 1930
Apparently a late fashion illustration by Lepape.

1 comment:

Paul Sullivan said...

Don, once again you have featured an outstanding illustrator I have not heard of before. I think Lepape's work is striking and surely a powerful influence on fashion illustration. The Voge cover of January 1919 hits me as particularly excellent design—and it is almost 100 years old.