Being back in Paris was wonderful. I had just spent three weeks in London for fashion week and lots of adventures. Though tired, I was still excited. After a delayed Eurostar arrival (and a social media lesson from the BBC), I picked up mail from my Paris bestie Eliza, unfortunately a bit too late for the first couple shows.

My first sketches appeared pale and weak. However, the second show, Anrealage, was incredible! Models wore black outfits painted black, with weird alien brain-like helmets. Spotlights flashed, revealing colorful patterns on the fabrics. It was theatrical and evocative. Initially unsure how to sketch it, I drew inspiration from the experience.

Fashion artist in action Highlights

I sat by a DASH magazine editor and illustrator, Megan. She’s been sketching runways for one year with confident fearlessness I didn’t have at year one. Very friendly too – a sister in live sketching. We ended up at most of the same shows. Seeing her work, I noticed how I used to draw and felt amazed at my progress. Fascinating how two artists see the same show differently, while at the same access level. Though eight years in, I’m not much further inside than year one. I felt a bit stuck.

At Sharon Wauchob, I stood by a mirror. The models had flat pressed hair and lots of lace and fur. I decided to use the iPad’s color options as my Paper strategy this week – imagine every color available!

Aganovich was incredibly easy to draw – dramatic white collars, skirts draped over hips and arms, hands in pockets. Three quick sketches:

My First Time At Paris Fashion Week

Megan showed me the shuttle bus and we went to Alexis Mabille. Slowly walking models are more challenging than speedy ones. I sat behind Megan chatting with the ladies. I’m less talkative when drawing, maybe it seems rude. Earlier, a photographer friend and I discussed competition – they’d say no to be politic but believe otherwise. I think illustration is competitive. It pushes me harder. I want the best portfolio, so I have to try!

The Alexis Mabille girls wore grey ombre knit toques with 80’s shoulder pads.

Daily, Eliza got more mail for me. I’d bring pastries over and do my Snoopy dance.

A.F. Vandevorst was the most unusual show – salons draped in plastic with face masks and shoe covers. A live band played in black, getting painted white. Models seemed touched by paint too, like this one’s ankles.

I did a watercolor. The heat dried it fast. Dramatic brows and hair created graphic beauty. The clothes twisted classics wonderfully. A favorite this season.

Shooting Fashion Week- What to Expect

My second Issey Miyake show. The invitation folded like a Paris map. I chose a colorful look…took almost the whole show to draw! Oops.

At this point, I’d reached saturation. I took a break for my Globe column. Coming back was harder to muster urgency. Distracted by health, personal, work – getting run down, bitchier, and skinnier daily. 11 days of shows is a long stretch, even with a break. This portfolio excludes some shows attended.

These agnes b. sketches have a spareness fatigue allows.

How to get invited to fashion week without being in fashion

I summoned energy for Valentin Yudashkin – rich Russian girls with flat-ironed hair. Chanting “rich girls” under my breath worked – an excellent sketch emerged!

I was arguing with myself about playing the rich girl game for prestige. As an independent artist, I make less glamorous choices to pay rent, fund my ambition and wanderlust. Appearances aren’t easily played when self-funded. I want recognition on merit! How can I impress gatekeepers yet remain accessible? Is my work good enough or not yet? I’m trying to figure that out.

I do everything for myself – no agent or boss, just a couple advisors. At Masha Ma, Professor Valerie Steele said to negotiate myself and trust my judgement. Where advice comes from matters as much as the advice.

By the last show, YDE, only a small determined European group remained, faces familiar. Megan could run to the Eurostar after – admirable we both finished. I drew slowly. One redheaded model was vivid, I drew her in every outfit. Smiles seem to emerge when drawing expressionless model mouths. Why?

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