Monday, March 9

Kenneth Paul Block

Always fascinated with anything Truman Capote, I just finished reading Deborah Davis’ book Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball.

Intrigued by the illustration of Amanda Burden, in the borrowed black and white striped gown designed by Cecil Beaton for My Fair Lady, I was reminded of the work of Kenneth Paul Block.

One of the most influential fashion illustrators of the twentieth century, Kenneth Paul Block made his mark on the world of fashion at Women's Wear Daily in the 1950s. Long identified and celebrated for his drawings and water colors of such society icons as Babe Paley, the Duchess of Windsor, Jackie Kennedy and C.Z. Guest, he also became a favorite of the leading fashion designers.

Scores of designers hired Mr. Block to illustrate their collections, including, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, Pierre Cardin, Garavani Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene and Oscar de la Renta. Block also documented the work of up-and-coming designers Marc Jacobs, Perry Ellis and Halston.

Attending the shows in Paris, London, Milan and New York, Mr. Block was one of the first to capture the latest trend-setting styles of the 1960s and the post-war shift of couture to prêt-a-porter through illustration.

More of Mr. Block’s work can be seen in the beautiful book Drawing Fashion: The Art of Kenneth Paul Block by Susan Mulcahy, with a foreword by Yves Saint Laurent and an introduction by Isaac Mizrahi.

14 comments:

Debra said...

SO GORGEOUS! I must look for this book- love these sketches~ art at it's best!

Paul Pincus said...

genius!

Arlynn said...

These sketches are SO lovely!

I think I might need to start searching for similar pieces to frame & hang in my tiny dressing room - they would certainly add a bit of panache & personality : )

ALL THE BEST said...

Debra the book is beautiful!

ALL THE BEST said...

Paul I so agree!

Arlynn fashion illustrations would look wonderful in a dressing room. Good luck!

J Gavin Smith said...

This is on the top of my list of all time favorites! What a talent and what great My copy almost needs to be replaced! I have flipped through so often, the cover is worn. Kudos to you for suggesting it! Right with this best seller is my equally favorite Jerimiah by Jerimiah Goodman! A lunch with both would be at the top of my list! Can you just imagine the conversation......

pve design said...

In college, we were always trying to be a chip off the Block. Isaac makes the perfect introduction.
pve

Julie at BV said...

that last drawing is gorgeous.

Karena said...

How fabulous, I can't wait to read the book. The illustrations by Block are genius, love the image of St. Laurent.

michelle said...

At school, I passed by the drawings of the Fashion Deisgn students every day, and loved them!

These are especially beautiful, and have a great feel!

Coffee with Cathy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. So inspiring!

Jennifer said...

i've been meaning to read that truman capote book. what did you think?

Meade Design Group said...

I love the first intention of these drawings - they are uncomplicated but yet extremely interesting.

Anonymous said...

KPB was the fashion illustrator I have always admired the most. His gift was incredible. What he was able to convey with just a felt marker was, and will always be for me, truly inspiring.
Wayne