Keith Mayerson

Fashion Drawings

I'm proud that Ingrid Sischy, the famed editor of Interview Magazine, hired me to "cover" the haute-couture shows in Paris for what turned out to be her last issue of the magazine. This was a fantastic "assignment", not that I ever worked as an illustrator for any magazine, but in the spirit of Warhol, she employed fine artists to illuminate here pages. I was able to convince them to bring along Andrew Madrid my husband as my "assistant", and I was able to go backstage for many of the shows, in addition to meeting legendary figures like Lagerfeld. It was an exalted time—right before the looming economic crash—and Andrew and I were living on our credit cards in the midst of this great wealth, pomp, and circumstance. I used to have an aversion of the whole "art and fashion movement", thinking that it was an egregious belittling of the gravitas of fine art—if someone could buy a painting like they would a Prado coat, perhaps they could easily throw it away just like the garment when it went out of style. However, doing my research, I realized that the great designers were of course artists, creating anew and being inspired by history, sometimes fashioning a world that could change culture. And being part of the paparazzi, I realized that magazines like Vogue had a far greater reach than Art forum, and if art was in part about creating fantasies for people to ponder, these images were more powerful at bringing these visions to the public. But I also related to the models, the workers of the scene, who were also flying coach and dependent upon the masters of that universe for their paychecks and fame, and it was wonderfully interesting to be amongst them backstage. Ingrid I think wanted me to be like a classic sketch artist, but the models moved to quickly to render live, so I took many photos that were the source of the images. The drawing of Galliano was from one of his last shows before his breakdown—despite his artistry, perhaps form without content can be the devil's playground, and he came out dressed like a Renaissance artist but already you could feel the tension. It was amazing to be at the Rodin Museum for Valentino's last show, however, and all the models dressed in his classic red welcomed him onstage for his last catwalk bow, like aliens on a spaceship exalting their great leader.