Fashion Sketches & Fashion Dolls

Miss Nancy 1  sketch


Fashion sketch by Robert Tonner






Fashion sketches have been used for nearly 500 years to make clothing.  From Wikipedia:

Fashion Illustration has been around for nearly 500 years. Ever since clothes have been in existence, and there has been a need to translate an idea or image into a fashion illustration. Not only do fashion illustrations show a representation or design of a garment but they also serve as a form of art. Fashion illustration shows the presence of hand and is said to be a visual luxury. (Drake, 9).

More recently, there has been a decline of fashion illustration in the late 1930s when Vogue began to replace its celebrated illustrated covers with photographic images. This was a major turning point in the fashion industry. Laird Borrelli, author of Fashion Illustration Now states,

Fashion Illustration has gone from being one of the sole means of fashion communication to having a very minor role. The first photographic cover of Vogue was a watershed in the history of fashion illustration and a watershed mark of its decline. Photographs, no matter how altered or retouched, will always have some association with reality and by association truth. I like to think of them [fashion Illustrations] as prose poems and having more fictional narratives. They are more obviously filtered through an individual vision than photos. Illustration lives on, but in the position of a poor relative to the fashion.

Sketches/illustrations are now selling for high dollars if they are originals by famous clothing or costume designers.  In January of 2014 there was an auction of sketches from the 1960’s by Karl Lagerfeld.


So it makes perfect sense that fashion sketches for fashion dolls would be collectible and sought after.  Tonner Doll Company has a Pinterest board of fashion sketches by Robert Tonner.  Imagine your favorite doll displayed with the original fashion sketch next to it.  🙂

fashion sketches

Check out the board by  clicking on the photo above.

Would you make a fashion doll sketch part of your doll collection?




2 responses to “Fashion Sketches & Fashion Dolls

  1. Great post Miss Nancy! I always love looking at Robert’s Fashion sketches! They are just so beautiful! A few years back at one of your conventions you gave out a folder with prints of some of his sketches. Those were fantastic! I have put some in frames and displayed next to my dolls!

    I wish I was as talented as Robert to be able to draw sketches on my own, but for those of us who are not, I recommend the Klutz book “My Style Studio”. It is available on Amazon. It comes with a set of vinyl clings that allow you to assemble an outfit and hairdo on a figure and trace it. It also comes with some texture plates that you can use to add detail to the fabric when you color it in. The results are great and really make you feel like you are a fashion designer. So many outfit combinations are available and you can add details that make it your own! I have tried many other fashion sketch sets and “how-to” drawing books and this is the best and easiest! Very relaxing and fun thing to do without all the frustration of trying to draw a figure from scratch! We will certainly never reach the talented heights of Robert and other famous designers, but it is fun to pretend! 🙂

    Maria B.

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