guest post: Anh-Minh.


As a kid, one of my favorite toys was the TOMY Fashion Plates, which basically consisted of plastic templates that you could mix and match to create ensembles. Although I’ve long abandoned any dreams of a career in couture, my interest in fashion illustrations was recently renewed – thanks to a trip to the Alameda flea market with interior designer Grant K. Gibson.

Grant and I are working on an article about secondhand shopping for the SF Chronicle, so we set out in search of inexpensive pieces that needed just a little work. We came across a vendor who was selling a bunch of original 1970s fashion sketches for just $6 each and knew we had to snap some up. (I especially love the handwritten notes on the side of each.)

We sifted through rows and rows of drawings and, after much deliberation, bought these three:


Grant purchased $15 frames from Aaron Brothers and we hung them up on a wall in my guest bedroom. We were going for a bit of a casual look, hence the simple white frames. The block of yellow paint behind them is meant to delineate this small “gallery” area.

In the following photos, fashion illustrations are used in more sophisticated settings:



Krista Ewart’s Santa Monica home, photographed by Melanie Acevedo for the June/July 2007 issue of Domino, is in my inspiration folder.



The walls of Nina Griscom’s dressing room, featured on New York Social Diary, are graced with drawings of the dresses Bill Blass designed for her (photos by Jeff Hirsch.)


Seeing “Her Closet” that Melanie Coddington designed for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2008 prompted me to buy an illustration from Etsy seller Lottie Frank to hang in my own closet. I also like Brooklit’s affordable prints.


The Fifi Lapin prints (above), inspired by modern-day designer looks, offer a twist on the usual illustrations.

Perhaps the most budget-friendly option is to buy a book such as 100 Years of Fashion Illustration, Designs by Erte or Manolo Blahnik Drawings. Just extract your favorite pages and frame them.

Last year, when the De Young Museum held an exhibit on Yves Saint Laurent’s work, I bought a copy of the couture coloring book. The book, which includes 20 sketches from his most renowned collections, is still available for purchase. Just add your own touch to his drawings before displaying them in your home. This is definitely a step up from those Fashion Plates outfits!

[ thanks again to guest blogger Anh-Minh Le! ]

6 Responses to “guest post: Anh-Minh.”
  1. Leah says:

    I love these! I have some similar illustrations my mother found for me – vintage French fashion illustrations (1930s, I believe), with handwritten Russian notes along the side of at least one! So lovely.

  2. Pictures are beautiful & I love the Fifi print, gorgeous!

  3. Fashion is art after all! My fashion plates got quite a bit of use as a child too. A few years ago when my girls were younger, I purchased an I Love Lucy paper doll book and used it’s pages to decorate their room. We still haven’t tired of them yet.

  4. What a great and inexpensive idea to add a little fashion flair to your space! It could also work by framing old sewing pattern covers? They often had colorful, stylish drawings.

  5. OMG — I *totally* forgot all about Fashion Plates!!! I spent hours upon hours playing with them when I was little…. wonder if they have them on eBay….. thanks for bringing back a great memory!

  6. Brooke H says:

    Love your blog, thank you for including a link to my etsy shop!

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