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Art Watch : Steven Stipelman

Steven Stipelman is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth – watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch. 

Who is Steven Stipelman?

Once, a young man of about 20 walked up to the window which sold haute couture clothes. Upon entering, he requested to purchase the John Galanos dress and jacket that the mannequin was wearing. Not getting much attention, he politely repeated his request. The respectable sales lady wanted to understand why he wanted to purchase it. In any size, and not for anyone in particular. “I would like to hang it in my closet, like a piece of art”. He paid the staggering amount 1600 dollars. Subsequently, that young man went onto become one of the most revered names of fashion illustrations. He was Steven Stipelman.

“Fashion drawing is a fantasy,” said Stipelman, who teaches illustration. “They are conveying a mood, a feeling and attitude. It’s supposed to make you feel like you want the attitude of this person, not like you’re going on a diet so you can look like this person.”

Stipelman was born in 1944, in New York. Always a fan of the arts, he studied art at the High School of Music and Art. Later, he pursued fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He landed his first major assignment as an illustrator at the specialty store Henri Bendel in New York. Here, he got the opportunity to do all the fashion advertising for newspapers and catalogues. However, it was his job with Women’s Wear Daily, in 1965, when he was commissioned to cover a wide range of international collections. Notably, all his sketches were wired to New York for instant publication. It was the beginning of fashion journalism and Stipelman covered the party circuits. He knew who was wearing which designer, attending various galas.

Stipelman is a freelance illustrator and he still continues with his first love. Illustrations and advance fashion sketches of social luminaries for Women’s Wear Daily. Further, he is known to  work only from descriptions. He has illustrated the creations of fashion designers such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and many others.

A Passion for Fashion

His illustrious clientele includes the cosmetic companies Estee Lauder, Charles of the Ritz, Orlane and Clairol. He has been commissioned projects by Vogue and Simplicity Patterns along with the department stores of  Marshall Field and Lord and Taylor. Several textile companies use his illustrations, they include Celanese, Du Pont, and American Silk Mill, and clothing companies Adele Simpson, Hanes and Helga.

Stipelman’s teaching career extends over some 30 years and he is on the teaching faculty at Parsons School of Art and lectures on fashion illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Mount Mary College, Stephens College, the Art Institute of Philadelphia and other institutions. 

“Illustrating Fashion: from Concept to Creation”, Stipelman’s book is a staple for all fashion illustration students. It was published in 1996.

Steven Stipelman lives and works in New York.

For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – do not miss the ART WATCH

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