Maggie Sottero is a must see destination for press and editorial alike with cutting edge desigins, fashion shows and a large footprint at COUTURE that draws constant traffic. April’s highly anticipated catwalk presentation attracted the “who’s who” in the industry. Randy Fenoli was delightfully surprised by the high-fashion collection and described the presentation as “more fashion forward [with] influences from the 1920’s, Downtown Abby and The Great Gatsby.” The deco beading, luxurious satin sheaths and plunging backlines were certainly a departure from Maggie Sottero’s more classic appeal but the popular line still kept true to their roots with dramatic princess ball gowns and classic mermaid silhouettes sprinkled in. We can’t wait to see what surprises they have in store for us this Spring!
Claire Thompson is the creator and founder of Hello Claire, a concierge illustrating service specializing in fashion art. Within moments, Claire has the ability to capture the essence of designs ranging from international retail chains like Desigual to high-fashion labels like Gucci and McQueen. However it wasn’t always an easy path for Ms. Thompson. She recalls the life altering discussion she had with her doctor at just 20 years old, “I found out my retinas were almost entirely detaching and I had less than a week before I would be blind for the rest of my life if they didn’t do emergency surgery.” Luckily the surgery was a success and shortly after regaining her eyesight her career took off. Now she can be found sketching anywhere from her local coffee shop to the runways of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Naturally we were thrilled when Claire sketched at COUTURE and we were even able to squeeze in an interview between sketches and get an in depth look into her creative process.
COUTURE: What inspired you to start illustrating?
CLAIRE: Almost losing my eyesight made me reevaluate what I wanted to do with my life. Given how critical a role art had, it was an easy decision to pursue fashion illustration. I have been an artist for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until college that I started illustrating fashion. Fashion is the most intimate form of art, as it’s something that plays a daily role in our lives. We are always wearing something that reflects our identity in some way. As a fashion illustrator, it’s my job to bring out those elements that reflect our individuality.
COUTURE: What has drawn you to the beautiful world of weddings?
CLAIRE: . Shortly after my surgery, I got an internship as a graphic illustrator for a ski and snowboard company in a small town in the French Alps. While I was working, I was applying for scholarships to put myself through school and found out about a wedding dress competition with an American bridal magazine. I submitted a sketch of a wedding dress and soon after found out I made it to the semi-finals. I was only given 4 weeks to construct the dress I designed. I had a bit of a disadvantage during the competition, though. As i mentioned earlier, I was recovering from an intensive eye surgery and also didn’t have access to a sewing machine or a dress form, so I was forced to construct the gown on my own body. I ended up in the finals round and was flown to New York to present my dress on Good Morning America! I was very lucky I got a second chance at seeing and hand-sewing a wedding dress was the first thing I created since my operation. Bridal design will always have very special place in my heart.
COUTURE: Do you always work with designers or have you worked with real brides? Is there a different technique to each?
CLAIRE: I often work with both. Working with brides is very similar to working with designers. They both have a vision, and it’s my job to translate their ideas onto paper.
COUTURE: How do bridal sketches differ from ready to wear sketches?
CLAIRE: Bridal gowns take a lot more time to illustrate, as they have so much more detail than ready to wear sketches. My end goal is always the same for both, though, it’s about conveying an emotion that photography cannot capture
COUTURE: During the Maggie Sottero Fashion Show you sketched the looks in real time as they came down the catwalk. How did you master this live sketching technique and how do you capture the garment’s details in such short period of time?
CLAIRE: Live illustrating can be very difficult, and coordination is extremely important. Holding a paint set, water, paintbrushes, and a sketchbook can end up being a disaster if you’re not careful, especially sitting front row at a fashion show where everyone can see what you are doing. I only have a few seconds to look at a piece before I start illustrating it. I try to capture the emotional aspects of the piece, so the music also plays a big part in how I illustrate during a show.
COUTURE: Your figures have very unique characteristics and attitude. Do you develop their poses based on the designs you are illustrating?
CLAIRE: Absolutely. I try to take the personality of the designs and translate it into the figure’s body language. Conveying personality through my illustrations is very important to me, but I always try to leave a little bit to the viewers’ imagination, which is why I never draw faces. I’d rather the personality come through the designs, as opposed to a face.
Thank you again to everyone who made COUTURE a smashing hit this April! In case you missed it, above is a highlight reel of all the fabulous details. The collections this year were particularity well rounded with iconic anchors like Rosa Clara, Justin Alexander, Maggie Sottero, Jasmine Bridal and Palmoa Blanca as well as fresh up and comers like Madeline Fig, Lauren Gabrielson, and Cocoe Voci! The floor was packed with some of the biggest names in the bridal business and we even introduced the new COUTURE Salon filled with fabulous activities and treats just for them! Till October…
The Knot Spring Issue is on stands now and Fashion & Beauty Editor, Jennie Ma, is giving us her top picks “Straight From The Runway“. I am very happy to announce many of our COUTURE alumni have been chosen! Will we be seeing these trends in April or do you have guys more tricks up your sleeve? Comment below and give us a sneak peak on what’s hot and what’s not! For more runway reports check out pg 67 in the current issue! See you all in a few months!
RIGHT: Victoria Nicole
Florals are a spring staple due to their seasonal allure and feminine appeal. This spring, designers took a more realistic approach by making the flowers come to life 3-dimensionally! This unexpected texture provides a truly stimulating experience for both the bride and her guests.
LEFT: Victor Harper
RIGHT: Eve of Milady
This particular trend is extremely flattering for the female figure. It flattens the mid-section while enhancing the hips and chest. Corsets also provide a romantic and sensual allure reminiscent of the glamorous yet repressed Victorian era.
LEFT: Jesus Peiro
CENTER: Augusta Jones
RIGHT: Maggie Sottero
Lace is an essential bridal element due to its romantic appeal; however it is up to the designers to create fresh ways to evolve it for modern brides. Adding a lace sleeve provides tasteful elegance that appears conservative while still remaining sexy.
LEFT: Jorge Manuel
Bridal silhouettes are often timeless but fashionistas crave that extra edge. This trend adds that level of fashion she lusts for without being too extreme. It is also great for those brides who want to mask their troublesome mid-section!
This asymmetrical Grecian gown is perfect for the bride who wants to be romantic yet modern. The intricate detail on the bust and shoulder adds glamor while the light fabric and delicate pleating keeps the look fresh and airy. For more fabulous gowns by Maggie Sottero CLICK HERE!