Megan Hess is one of the most in-demand international fashion illustrators, and has worked with luxury brands including Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Rolex, Cartier and Bergdorf Goodman. For Focus/15 she brought her talents to the Design Centre with a specially commissioned illustration. This artwork, along with others from her portfolio, is on display on the Walk of Fame on the third floor.
What was your brief for the illustration you created for the Design Centre? My brief was really to capture the entire inside of the Design Centre, both with all the interesting people that would be walking around Focus/15 and all the interesting interior objects on display. And it was very complex to create, just in the sense of scale, showing every level of inside mixed with the actual scale of people and objects. That was a little bit tricky but often the most challenging illustrations are the ones that are the most successful in the end.
How did your style evolve? My style definitely evolved over the years: I think that’s something that happens naturally to anyone who draws. The more you draw, the more your style evolves. I always say to students who ask me how they find their style, “keep drawing and your style will find you.”
Do you have a passion for interior design as well? I think fashion and interiors very much influence each other. When I was working on my book, Fashion House, I was interested in the way that people within fashion often have homes or interior spaces that reflect their personal style. I think Coco Chanel is a great example of the way she dresses with her tweeds and minimal lines and her colour scheme, it’s almost a mirror image when you look at her interiors.
What’s your style at home? Very clean and airy. It’s quite white, as is my studio. I think that’s because I often work with a lot of colour, pattern and texture. So for living and working, I really like to keep things very fresh and white – it almost feels like a blank canvas.
How do you work? I draw everything freehand, and I use a bespoke Montblanc pen, called Monty. It’s then scanned into my computer, which gives me the flexibility to move things around within an image.
Where do you feel at your most creative? I think I really get inspired when I travel: I’ll often bring my sketchbook with me and depending what country I’m in, I’ll perch myself in a busy coffee shop and just watch different people, sitting having a coffee, walking in and out. I’ll notice what people are wearing, the way they are walking and talking; all of those types of elements are inspiring to me.
Did you have a big break? Yes, definitely. It was when Candice Bushnell’s publisher in New York contacted me to illustrate the cover of her next novel, which became Sex and the City. At the time, I was working full time as an illustrator but not with the really great luxury brands that I’d always dreamt of, but when I was contacted by her publisher, it opened up my work to a really big field of people. When her books were realised, and all the covers I’d illustrated were on billboards in New York and buses, and everywhere – that was the first time it went from no one ringing my phone, to a lot of amazing companies and fashion brands, which I’d never actually dreamt of working with.
Do you have a favourite moment in fashion history? I do love the past and I am very inspired by Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren. I think there were a lot of amazing, iconic styles in those eras, although I do love modern fashion and illustrating that, so I mix it up. Depending on what I’m working on, I’ll tailor the fashion to that – for the Design Centre, I wanted to really capture that quirky, chic interior designer look.