The Golden Age of Fashion Illustration

Wednesday 4 September 2024 at 2.00 pm at the Lowther Pavilion.  Guests may attend the lecture – £10 pp (pay on door)

Lecturer: Connie Gray

This will be Connie Gray’s first visit to The Arts Society Fylde. With a background in fashion and broadcasting, Connie Gray is the leading specialist in 20th century fashion illustration with a special interest in the history of French haute couture. Regularly invited to lecture both in the UK and the US, she sits on advisory boards at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London and Special Collections at FIT, New York. As a curator, lecturer and archivist, she works closely with institutions and foundations on acquisitions, conservation and exhibition projects, including most recently – Pioneers of Fashion in partnership with The Lee Miller Archives, Crown to Couture at Kensington Palace, London, and 100 Years of Fashion Illustration at The Society of Illustrators, New York. Other specialist exhibitions have included Legends Only at Claridge’s Hotel, London and Cunard’s Transatlantic Fashion Cruise on their flagship ship Queen Mary 2 to celebrate London and New York fashion weeks. As the lead curator for the art gallery Gray M.C.A, she curates the critically acclaimed exhibitions Drawing on Style that celebrates the masters of fashion illustration. She hosts a series of ‘Fashion Talks’ for leading luxury clients in the UK and has presented a series of masterclasses, talks and short films on French haute couture between the wars which has become required viewing and reading for students of fashion.

Jacques Griffe Suit illustrated by Pierre Mourgue (1890 – 1969) for L’Officiel 1958 p.269 © Gray M.C.A

The Lecture

Clothing and fashion have been depicted in art since the earliest civilisations yet as a recognised art form it was not until the early 20th century that fashion in art became a defined genre, recognised as an essential artistic medium in publicising fashion and lifestyle to a wider audience away from the inner court circles and high society journals.

Discover the magnificent art of fashion artists such as Georges Le Pape (1887 – 171), who was to be instrumental in the establishment of the Art Nouveau movement in France in the early 1900s, Erté  (1892 – 1990) the ‘Godfather of Deco’, who created, to great acclaim, some of the most recognisable images of the 1920s and 30s and the distinguished American artist Carl Erickson  (1991 -1958), who elevated fashion through his social realism to a new level of sophistication on both sides of the Atlantic. ‘The Golden Age of Fashion Illustration’ further explores the role fashion illustration played in democratising fashion and why this period in the history of fashion is know as the ‘golden era’.

Vogue Fashions illustrated by Carl Erickson (1891 – 1958) © Special Collections FIT New Yor

Lucile Manguin Evening Gown 1947 illustrated by Bernard Blossac (1917 – 2002)