After yesterday's post, you know all about how comic book art is playing out in Autumn/Winter trends but the relationship between the oft-geeky world of comics and fashion is not a new one. In fact, I've found out that if you look hard enough (and consult the right experts) then there are plenty of examples of fashion and comic art interplay out there. I spoke to John Dunning a hugely knowledgable comic book enthusiast and author of the graphic novel "Salem Brownstone"- find out more about that by watching this really cool video. I love his approach to talking about comics and fashion. After giving me a trillion leads on the best things to look at-it all started with Anna Sui's Olive Oyl- he told me "I have a HUUUUUGE bugbear about how shit fashion in comics usually is as it is drawn by men who often haven't even met a girl before". That comment puts into context how niche within a niche fashionable comics are. Plenty of designers have used the medium as a fun way to build their brand and create great ad campaigns. Joh also senses big changes, "If you look at comics from the 70s and 80s, the girls look really unrealistic but that has really evolved in recent years". It helps that more girls are getting involved in the comic world with John citing Gail Simone as a major player. Here are FEAL's fashionable comic picks, with a little help from the very kind Mr Dunning.
The ultimate fashion graphic novel is the recently published Paris by Erika Raven and Maarten Vande Wiele. It's not a straightforward fashion love-in but more of a dark look at what happens when three girls- Faith, Hope and Chastity- arrive in the French capital hoping to take the world by storm and become models. Expect a very clever send up of the murkier sides of planet fashion and beauty.
|Page 16 of Paris with fashion credits|
2. PETIT MAL AND FASHEMATICS
The FashEd has worked with Trust Fun, an Australian collective who have developed-among other interests- a speciality in creating fashion themed comics. They published Petit Mal in conjuction with their brilliant blog Fashematics -an online space where they develop absurd but completely bang-on equations to pick apart catwalk looks. For example, omelette + Wonder Woman = Chanel Resort '12. Fashematics also spurned a comic series which managed to get a little close to the mark when it unwittingly put a zombiefied version of John Galliano on the cover just weeks before the former Dior designer's fall from grace. One member of the gang, Shane Sakkeus, told Dazed Digital “Petit Mal barely scratches the surface of the hilarity of the fashion world! If one were to draw a line to express the funniness, it would stretch to the moon and back”. The group moved into amazingly printed scarves, bags and robes but seemed to have dropped off the radar in the last year or so with no more merchandise, Facebook updates or blog posts- very sad! It seems that the group are persuing their own projects with Mark Vassallo styling for key Oz designers and Jonathan Zawada getting involved in Japan's CQ store.
|John Galliano on Fashematical mag (image from fashematics.com)|
|Petit Mal images from (tags.thepop.com)|
Back in 2007, Prada enlisted the help of comic book cover artist James Jean (he worked on the Fables series) to bring some ethereal illustrated beauty to their SS08 collection- remember those silk printed tunics and fairy adorned handbags? If Miuccia endorses it, so the world follows.
|James Jean for Prada (image from comic212.net)|
Paul Pope is an alternative comic book artist who has a huge scope of work which ranges from reinventing Batman for the future to working with DKNY and Diesel. There's an obvious attraction for brands like these in working with someone like Pope who is a key player in the avant-garde, underground cool culture which their consumers are part of, or aspire to be involved in.
|Paul Pope working on his Diesel screens (from comicsbeat.com)|
5. DAN CLOWES
John could not praise the work of Clowes enough, telling me "the final panel of Ice Haven (Clowes 2005 graphic novel) is just amazing. I'm still trying to live up to it". In 2000, a strip from Clowes' Ghost World was used as an ad for Comme des Garcons. I think this might be my favourite- it's so simple yet says so much. John calls it "Goosebumps". Ghost World was made into a film in 2001 starring Scarlett Johannsson, her first ever film.
|Dan Clowes for Comme des Garcon (image from Joh Dunning)|
Finally, John has let FEAL have a sneak peak at Dead Cheerleader- a comic which he is working on with illustrator Fay Dalton who seems to be one of those rare (in John's words!) comic enthusiasts who lists fashion as a main inspiration. John and Fay may or may not realise this, but Dead Cheerleader goes perfectly with the dark girl goth which is simmering around AW12. As soon as I saw the images I thought of Christopher Kane and his references to the shiny fabric they line coffins with.
|Christopher Kane AW12- very Dead Cheerleader (image from catwalking.com)|