It was 88 years ago, in July 1932, that a color photo first appeared on the cover of Vogue. It featured a woman in a bathing suit holding a ball, and in its graphic simplicity it had something of an illustrative quality. This was a watershed moment for the still young medium of fashion photography, but also for fashion illustration, which for so long had been the lingua franca of the mode. To be clear: Vogue had used photographs before this time, and would continue to use illustrations after it, but the power dynamic had irrevocably shifted. Technology, it seemed, had triumphed.
Illustration never went away, of course, but, as with couture, its purview narrowed and it became more specialized. Both metiers elevate handwork and the individuality that it brings. The feeling of closeness evoked by handwork, which illustration delivers, has become even more desired as we have been isolated from each other amid the pandemic.
Here, we honor the art of illustration with drawings of looks handpicked from the Vogue Runway archive by seven artists. This is how they see the couture.