Fashion illustration has been the founding element of fashion publishing since its inception, just think of the Mercure Galant (dated 1672) or the very first editions of the Condé Nast newspapers, which having no other means of communicating their contemporary style , they used skilled hands to consolidate fashion century after century. And in turn, the whole world of art has used this kind of illustration to tell its identity in prose – like the famous designs of the country clothes of Marie Antoinette in her relatively small estate in the garden of Versailles that made the history of the late eighteenth century fashion or, closer to us, the famous Paul Iribe, Erté, Thayaht and Christian Bérard, creatives who lived between one historical Avant-garde and the other. There would be too many quotes to make.
Taking a long leap forward in time, there are just as many contemporary realities that have ensured that fashion illustration did not become a secondary element in this sector, transforming it instead into its own trademark: just think of the magnificent sketches of Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Fendi and Chloé, who categorically rejected digitized drawing, or the New York Times cartoons between fashion, society and politics, without forgetting Lele Acquarone (who based a good part of his career as an editor on drawing) and Anna Piaggi, the most beautiful living illustration that Italian fashion has ever had.
Today, more than ever, in the midst of the saturation of photographs, archives and visual impulses that we receive between stories, posts and reblogs, the illustrator represents that nostalgic desire to curb the unstoppable race of fashion – a strictly analogical feeling that obliges the observer to analyze the work to understand its taste, hand and meaning.
From this reasoning, Opera Illustration was born in Milan last November from the intuition of Federica Ciuci Priori and Erika Grupillo, both fashion insiders for almost a decade between publishing, casting and productions. Both confess the need on the international scene for a worthy representation of the most interesting and influential illustrators of the last few years – a necessity to highlight the names that have managed to find their own space despite the preponderance of an increasingly accompanied technologically avant-garde photograph to the very current 3D graphics, echoing the January issue of Vogue Italia, entirely created by international illustrators and in full respect of the ethical values of sustainability.
Peeking into the portfolio of artists represented by Opera, we find Benedikte Kluver, Yuliya Yg, Irene Ghillani and Marialaura Fedi, a female quartet with a distinctive trait different from each other capable of telling their own reality between cultured and delicate or soft quotes representations of the à la mode newspaper; there are the sharp visions of Andrea Chronopoulos and Shut Up Claudia or the retro charm of Andrea Mongia and Evgenya Manko, the sharp contrasts of Almost Iris and Colore G.
Opera’s mission is to be able to represent a delicate cross-section of today’s names that make themselves felt through their works, bringing the world back to two-dimensionality, pausing the production frenzy to which even the fashion image has had to adapt. Opera is the beginning of a narration – obviously illustrated – that speaks of responsibility towards the world around us, of inclusion, feminine values and so much, so much beauty.