Fashion illustrations were once an indelible trademark of fashion publishing and advertising. Today few editorials, few publications, few online outlets, use fashion illustrations to highlight the fashion pulse. For those who are not particularly versed in fashion illustrations and its rich history, for those who find these vintage images curious and charming, there is a new world out there just for you!
If anyone were to dissect the contemporary fashions of the past 20 years, the 1930s easily becomes its principle influence, its main stylistic protagonist. Don’t believe us? Hasn’t John Galliano referenced that decade to extremes? And don’t think he was the only one! The 1930s silhouette’s lithe elegance still reads true to this day, so do its accessories and styling.
The world of Spain’s Carlos Sáenz de Tejada (né Carlos Saenz de Tejada y de Lezama) has now returned to the forefront of fashion, where it belonged all along. Not long ago in Spain, the Fundación Cristóbal Balenciaga held a retrospective of his work with a majority of the works on display from the Fundación Collección ABC. This exhibition coincidentally reintroduced this master of fashion illustration to the masses and to new acolytes the world-over.
Carlos Sáenz de Tejada’s trajectory in fashion was as much a detour from his privileged roots (his aristocrat father was a diplomat) as it was an accidental professional trek into the world of beauty and luxe. His classic art education and unmistakable stylized brushstrokes came to epitomize the sleek 1930s style – itself paralleling the right-leaning political views of the day. He not only made a name for himself in fashion illustration, he was a fine-art painter, poster artist, costume designer and decorator.
Politics aside, Carlos Sáenz de Tejada’s work is world class and is worth peeking into time and time again….
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