PARIS — Illustrator Yann Legendre, who divides his time between Paris and Chicago, applied his graphic touch to the 11 late fashion greats featured in “Couture Confession,” a Rizzoli tome out next month.
Here’s what he said about the project:
WWD: What was the starting point for each illustration: the designer’s words or found imagery?
Yann Legendre: For this book, I wanted to go back in time and re-create the original atmosphere of each character in his/her real places such as their home, studio, street….I wanted to be close enough to feel their atmosphere, their voices, their perfume, to be able to draw them how they were instead of how we imagined them.
WWD: Can you explain your technique for these lacquer-like images?
Y.L.: My technique is influenced by engraving artists from the 18th century mixed with a graphic palette from 2016. I liked the crafted feeling of the lines that created light and shadow. Working on a computer gives the opportunity of zooming in my illustration to create more details.
With this series of illustrations, I wanted to create some movie-like scenes: Black and white, with a lot of details, such as the furniture, objects, clothes, jewelry, etc.
WWD: What struck you the most about these characters — their differences or similarities?
Y.L.: The fact that I had so many stereotypes about them and they were all wrong! For instance, I’m ashamed to admit that for some reason I always thought that Lanvin was a man. I always thought that Dior was a skinny guy, etc. More seriously, what makes them similar is the fact that all of them were haunted by their art, and it’s what I respect and admire the most in them.
WWD: If you could have lunch with these legends, who would be the most intimidating and why?
Y.L.: If it is based on their art, it’s — with no hesitation — Alexander McQueen. I would find a place where we can drink a Bloody Mary out of a skull-shaped glass.
WWD: And the most fun?
Y.L.: Chanel, because she is not funny at all. But I’m sure I will find a way to make her laugh.
WWD: As author Pamela Golbin asked: What is fashion?
Y.L.: Something that is always changing.