Kate Wilson is a London-based illustrator who, on top of depicting the typical Prada bag will also add her own elements, like birds with mullets and the anatomy of a banana split. Her clients have included Marc Jacobs and The Guardian.
How do you decide what your girls will wear?
I think a little of my own style creeps into theirs! I suppose my own likes/dislikes influence my work, but I also get a lot of inspiration from street style and fashion blogs as well as walking around and people-watching myself (it’s a guilty pleasure for me!).
Many of your illustrations are based on actual fashion collections; what are some of your favourite collections?
I love anything by designers like Luella and Karen Walker, but also quirky labels like April77, Wren, and Charles Anastase. I’ve recently been trying to buy more vintage pieces and have indulged in a great brocade skirt from Liebemarlene Vintage, who I think you featured a while ago.
Have you ever incorporated your own designs into your drawings?
I haven’t as of yet but it’s something I would love to do, probably starting with t-shirt designs, but I think it’s time I learned how to sew properly so I can whip up my own designs!
Usually your fashion illustrations focus on the clothes, often leaving the faces of the models blank, but occasionally you will go into detail on their faces (like this example here). Why is that?
To be honest, at first it was because I found it really tricky to get their faces to look right! For some reason whenever I drew a face it made me dislike the drawing… but as I went on I grew to like the spacing that it gave the images. It offsets the intricate detail I normally use by having that blank space. I hope that covers up my inability to draw faces properly.
The pictures you did of the birds with the shoes are great; can you tell me a bit about how those came to be?
I think it was a mutual love of both things… for some reason it made sense to me for a bird to set up home in a pretty Marc Jacobs ballerina pump! I think that was the first bird/shoe pic I did, which was for my final university degree project.
Your outfit illustrations don’t usually include any shoes, although you do have quite a few detailed illustrations of individual shoes on your site. Do you tend to envision shoes as being part of an outfit, or have you always seen them to be more subjects within themselves?
Personally I think shoes make an outfit. I’m partial to a nice brogue due to my inability to walk without falling over in heels! In terms of drawing, like the faces, I like leaving those blank areas but I take great pleasure in drawing a really detailed close up of a shoe. I think it’s all of the little details on a shoe that people often don’t notice that I like to emphasize. I’m all about the little details!
interview by Anna Fitz