Drawing Fashion: Dressing Up & The Exploring The World By Isabelle Feliu
How does Instagram which you wanna live in looks like? Isabelle's is definitely a choice of ours! After seeing her profile all we wanted to do is to live inside those illustrations, dress just like those people & do whatever they are doing! Isabelle is a Canadian illustrator living in Oslo, and her drawings are straight from the hottest vogue catwalks.
Tell us a little bit about your background: Where are you from, what was your family like?
I am from Québec city (Canada) but my mother is Honduran. My family was a bit different from others I knew growing up, mostly in the sense that my parents valued experiences over material goods; we travelled a lot!
How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
I have always loved to draw, but I didn’t have a specific style until a few years ago. I found my style by being very focused on my goal which was to work as an illustrator. I was lucky enough to have a lot of free time which allowed me to draw and paint every day.
I was consciously trying to find a kind of voice, exploring mediums and looking at the work of artists that inspired me like Matisse and Gauguin, asking myself a lot of questions about why their style spoke to me. My style has evolved a lot since I started, I am never really satisfied and I always try to make it better.
Are there any fashion/beauty rules or guidelines you find yourself avoiding to portray in your work?
Not specifically, I always say that my work is a kind of wish list: I often include things that I would love to wear myself. Therefore I would never choose to illustrate clothing that I don’t relate to in any way.
Your illustrations have female characters as the centre of attention, tell us a bit more about them, what kind of women do you try to capture? What grabs your attention?
I like my illustrations to be light and playful, and I want to portrait my characters enjoying their beautiful clothes, whether they are relaxing on a poolside, having a walk in a city or having a picnic. Somehow I really love the unusual contrast between having them wear beautiful clothes and having them explore jungles, discover pyramids or go hiking; I enjoy mixing my love for fashion and travel.
Fashion also seems to be a huge part of your illustrations, where do you get your ideas for the clothing, styling and makeup of your characters?
I get a lot of inspiration when I travel. I love to look at what other women dress in other countries and I am also very inspired by traditional clothing.
I also look at Vogue Runway every day to find new collections that catch my eye and that I would like to include in my illustrations. Since a lot of designers that I love and relate too are not featured on vogue runway, it is also important for me to explore social media, looking for the fresh aesthetics of emerging and independent designers.
Which outfit of your illustrations is your favourite and would you prefer to wear in real life?
I am hesitating between the looks of my Mansur Gavriel fall 17 illustration
And this beautiful faux-fur and pearl purse from Shrimps
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is casual and I usually keep it simple. I mostly wear neutral colors and discreet prints. I love to wear denim and colorful slip-ons in the summer. I don’t like to have too much on and I don’t accessorize much.
There are a lot of plants in your paintings are you a 'green thumb' yourself? Why do you choose this element?
I am afraid I am not! However, my boyfriend definitely has a green thumb and our apartment is filled with beautiful plants.
I feel very inspired by tropical and exotic nature and it somehow reflects my taste for travel.
Your work looks so fresh, summery and sunny that you just wanna live in it! Is it a bit the opposite of what you experience living in Oslo?
Thank you! And yes, it is totally the opposite! I don’t really enjoy the cold and I often find myself daydreaming about exotic and warm places, thus the tropical vibes in my illustrations.
Is diversity or other social ideas important in your illustrations? Why and which ones?
Body and cultural diversity definitely became important as I developed my style, but I didn’t really think about it as a began illustrating; it was only the way I liked to depict women. As I gained visibility, I discovered that I really enjoyed when women told me that they related to my characters, and now I would say that it is something that I do more consciously.
Also, I am a huge animal lover and although I haven’t been 100% illustrating/collaborating with brands that are vegan, there is a soft spot in my heart for businesses that are ethical in that way and it is definitely a direction I want to take.
Your 3 most inspiring fashion illustrators/artists.
That’s difficult, I could list a hundred! The firsts one coming to my mind at the moment are Blair Breitenstein (@Blairz), Stephan Beaumont (@oneeyegirl) and Inès Longevial – even if she doesn’t often illustrate fashion.
Huuuge Thank You for Isabelle for a lovely chat we had today!