You've probably heard of Megan Hess. If not, she's the Australian illustrator the fashion world are obsessed with.
A career in graphic design evolved into art direction while dabbling in drawing. Then, in 2008 Hess illustrated the New York Times number one selling book Sex And The City, written by Candace Bushnell. As they say, the rest is fashion history.
As the artist prepares to launch her latest work -- The Couture Show Tabletop Collection -- Hess spoke to The Huffington Post Australia about her whimsical world of high end fashion illustration.
When did you start illustrating?
"I’ve been drawing my whole life, but professionally as a fashion illustrator for about 10 years now."
At what point did you decide to turn it into a career?
"I studied graphic design because it felt like a ‘real’ job in the art world, but really always wanted to be an illustrator – I just never knew back then that it was a possible career choice!
After working as an Art Director in ad agencies for several years I packed everything up and moved to London. It was in London that I worked in a million different creative jobs and in my final job there I realised that I had a burning desire to be an artist.
At this time I’d became the Art Director for Liberty Department Store. Whilst I loved art directing fashion I loved illustrating it more. I started to do very small illustrations for Liberty and from this art directors saw my work and little commissions began to follow.
After about a year I found myself with non-stop work. I wasn’t earning a fortune but I’d never been happier and I knew I was going to do this forever.
As my clients got bigger and better I was able to be a little more selective and just work on briefs that I knew had a great creative opportunity. Then in 2006 I got a call in the middle of the night from Candace Bushnell’s publisher asking if I would illustrate her next novel ‘One Fifth Avenue’. This was when things took off at rapid speed for me. Her book became a New York Times best seller and I met with Candace and she asked me to illustrate all her previous books including the cover of ‘Sex and The City’.
Once ‘Sex and the City’ was released I was contacted by TIME magazine in New York to create portraits for them. This was a dream come true and I still can’t believe I work for them.
Following this, I began illustrating for Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Vanity Fair, Italian Vogue, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada. Ironically, at the same time as my work finally took off I had my first baby!! It's funny, I always tell people that I haven’t really slept since 2006!!
What have been your favourite projects to date?
"One of my favourite collaborations has been with Tiffany & Co in New York. I was asked to illustrate their iconic 5th Avenue building filled with chic Tiffany & Co people in the foreground. It was a dream project.
Another collaboration that was wonderful to work on was with Cartier in Paris. It all centred around Paris Fashion Week and I created 10 bespoke illustrations for their Paris Nouvelle Vague Collection.
Most recently I collaborated with Prada in Milan. I was a sled to create an animation with them to launch their new Eyewear collection, Prada Raw. That was probably the most innovative project that I’ve ever worked on.
You often draw stylish women. What do they mean to you?
All the woman I draw are imaginary but I’m also very inspired by the interesting and beautiful women that I see when I travel. I love to perch myself in a coffee shop and secretly sketch people - I love anyone with a great sense of style. Eclectic people are the best to draw.
You recently launched your new tabletop collection, The Couture Show. What are your tips for hosting a dinner party?
"For me it's creating a really fun and inviting atmosphere when hosting a dinner party. I want my guests to feel very comfortable and special from the minute they arrive.
I love creating a beautiful table setting and I always do name cards because I think it really makes each guest feel special.
I’m also very big on pre-cooking or preparing my food. I hate the stress of running back and forth to the kitchen all night. I find that if I have the food all done and ready to go I can actually just kick back and enjoy the night with everyone else."
The Couture Show Collection is available now.
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