by Patsyfox on December 6, 2019


It’s Fan Friday, and why not start with one of my all-time favourite Fashion Illustrators, yet one often left out of  the “best-of” lists: Joe Eula was born in the US in 1925, and served in the army before being discharged in 1945 and enrolling in art school in New York. His first illustrations as a student were published in Town & Country magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue – not bad for a student.

In the mid 50s he illustrated Eugenia Sheppard’s column Inside Fashion in the New York Herald Tribune, later working for the London Sunday Times covering European fashion, where the tiny salons allowed only for writer-artist combinations.

He worked for American Vogue and The New York Times, as well as Harper’s Bazaar. Doing this, he covered both Yves Saint Laurent’s first (1958) and last (2002) collections, as well as being an in-house artist for designers including Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Gianni Versace, Christian Dior and Karl Lagerfeld. He became friends with some of these designers, most notably with Coco Chanel, and often drew her collections. Though Chanel could be famously prickly, and the designers generally were not in favour of artists sketching their collections due to being copied, Eula managed to win Chanel over on the spot at their first meeting: In her salon and on a deadline, he was trying to quickly sketch the looks after the show, before being seen by her. Alas, he looked up and saw her coming straight for him. Without skipping a beat he grabbed a fresh piece of paper and by the time she reached him, he had drawn her portrait. From then until her death they remained good friends.

Favourite story #1 – he once attended an Yves Saint Laurent couture show, only to shout out that it was terrible after a brief time and walk out. His friendship with both Yves and his partner, the formidable Pierre Bergé was unaffected!

His friendships extended to talented artists in other fields – he designed a suit for Miles Davis, along with illustrating the cover of his album Sketches of Spain (1960); also concert posters for The Supremes and Liza Minnelli.

He designed sets and costumes for Broadway productions, even winning a Tony Award. What a showoff.

He was the creative director of Halston throughout the 70s (one of my favourite brands from the past), helping them establish the chic look they are known for today. Fave story #2 – In 1973 he designed the backdrop of a presentation by Halston and four other American designers to French couturiers at Versailles. There was a teeny weeny miscalculation converting imperial to metric units, so the backdrop drapes came up short. Not a problem! He added a strip of white paper along the bottom and sketched the Eiffel Tower onto it using a broom and stove paint. Fixed!

His loose rapid style that captured not just an outfit but a moment and an emotion, is so engaging and alive – when I look at his drawings my heart literally speeds up. All hail Eula!



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