Drawn to It
By Eve Thomas
“To me that is the ultimate luxury, to be able to do what I love for a living,” says acclaimed fashion illustrator Megan Hess. When she was growing up in Australia, drawing was a hobby, one the former ad agency art director never dreamed would turn into a career. The big break came in 2008, when she was tasked with illustrating the cover of a soon-to-be-legendary book: Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City. Now her list of clients reads like a who’s who of the fashion world (not to mention Carrie Bradshaw’s closet), from labels like Chanel and Dior to magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
“Illustration is essentially an imaginary world,” says Hess, who takes inspiration from runways and fabric swatches, but also from music, film noir, pastries and people watching. The appeal of her work is instant, whether she’s illustrating a ball gown or a box of macarons – or the lobby of Fairmont
The Palm, Dubai, where she launched her most recent book, Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion Icon, and left behind a special souvenir – four custom sketches of the property. Like all of her drawings, the images mix bold black lines and delicate details with splashes of pastel. The results are wistful yet sophisticated, distinctly modern and utterly timeless. But Hess doesn’t do it all by herself. She gets help from an impossibly glamorous accessory: “Monty,” her trusted Montblanc pen.