Free-lancing for the Kohler Collection…

by Alden Cole on July 31, 2014 · 0 comments

Illustrated Memoirs of a Quick-Change Artist, #48: Not-quite-the-last Fashion Hurrah!

KohlerCollection2WP1973: Trying to figure out the precise chronology of the fashion illustration work that I have focused on since early May has proved a stimulating challenge. My memory of mundane life events from that time is pretty sketchy; my memory of exactly when I was doing what illustration work has proved even sketchier. However this gradual career review has given me a much more accurate timeline than I possessed before; and one that would require redating a number of past postings if I were to want total accuracy. At this point I think I’ll wait to make those corrections in the book… The illustration of the four evening gowns above, done for the Kohler Collection, falls quite late in my fashion career, most likely the summer 1973 in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. It’s obvious to me that I really enjoyed doing this particular job, which was one of the most detailed illustrations I created in my career, as evidenced by the attention lavished on the fabric patterns and textures indicated on all four dresses. I loved drawing evening dresses; had done so since I was a teenager. If I’d had my druthers and been able to forge my way on 7th Avenue as a designer as I had trained to be, I would have wanted to design elegant evening wear – the ‘frosting on the cake’ of clothing design, so to speak. However that was not to be…

KohlerCWPAt left, an earlier piece done for Kohler, probably from the fall of ’72, in preparation for summer ’73, showing, in addition to my own illustration on the right, three smaller examples of what my competition was doing. These other pieces reflected the style of currently accepted practice. My work was unique. I made a living at it, but I never found an agent who was interested in representing me, so I began to question my skills. By the end of that summer, my whole world had turned upside down anyway. My partner had moved to Bloomington, Indiana at the end of August; so after three weeks in early September in Maine recovering from these daunting changes (and while there, painting in oils for the very first time) I returned to New York with aspirations to become a ‘painter’ and distance myself from the world of commercial art as much as possible, in order to devote myself to more serious pursuits – the world of ‘fine’ art. I had tired of depicting the world of fleeting fashion, and instead become interested in revealing the timeless world of myth and personal regeneration through art. Heady stuff for my first Saturn return.

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