ARTIST TO WATCH – BLAIR BREITENSTEIN
It used to be editors and buyers only. Today, editors, buyers and illustrators own New York Fashion Week’s front rows. Armed with pen and paper our favorite talent, BB (pun intended), who has just moved to the Big Apple, is ready to capture fashion’s next big moments for eternity. Meet an exceptional illustrator, who is literally taking the image of high fashion to another level…
Although Blair has already worked for industry heavy weights such as Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue or W (to only name a few), there is still room for growth. So, keep watching – creative minds never rest and are full of surprises!
WTL: How would describe yourself in three words – who is BLAIR BREITENSTEIN?
BB: Excitable. Curious. Quirky.
WTL: How much of your own personality goes into your illustrations?
BB: I think I’m a bit mysterious, and I think my illustrations are a bit mysterious too.
WTL: How would you describe the signature of your work to someone who has never seen one of your illustrations before?
BB: I would describe my style as exaggerated, moody, sexy, and fashionably on trend with a nod to the 60’s and 70’s.
WTL: You undoubtedly have great talent. Have you ever doubted yourself? And if so, how did you work through it?
BB: I almost always doubt my talent. I think the trick is to not compare my work to others. When I start to compare my work to others… I start to feel doubt. I get in my head “Am I as good, will I ever be as good?” And I CAN’T/ YOU CAN’T do that.
WTL: What was the best advice someone ever gave you?
BB: “MOVE TO NEW YORK” – my Mom.
WTL: What are the milestones in your life that have inspired you to become an illustrator?
BB: I grew up surrounded by fashion. My mom and grandma love fashion, so even early on my art has been inspired by fashion. My grandpa was an artist. I have always wanted to be an artist.
WTL: Your work is inspired by high fashion photography and brands such as Prada, Oscar de La Renta or Calvin Klein, whom you have already worked with. When did this fascination start and how would you describe it?
BB: When I was growing up fashion was an escape. I remember flipping through a W Magazine when I was very young, and I was fascinated with the opulence of it all. I was intrigued by the fantastical and remote settings in the editorials. At the time, I assumed everyone enjoyed magazines and fashion imagery as much as I did… later I realized I didn’t just enjoy flipping through magazines. I realized fashion was my passion and my muse.
WTL: Is fashion still your escape from reality?
BB: Yes, fashion still is an escape. The things I draw are not realistic to me. I do not have the place or money to where Dior but it is too beautiful for me to ignore so I draw these things. I get fixated on textures, colors, shapes and movement of clothing. I get completely lost looking at fashion week coverage.
WTL: Can you take us through a typical day of work?
BB: I am always collecting images. I screenshot, browse tumblr, mark up magazines… etc. I usually start my morning reviewing all of my images; then I just start drawing. I draw for a few hours in the mornings. After drawing, I take care of business matters such as emails, commissioned drawings, invoices, phone calls and interviews.
WTL: What do you like to do when you are not drawing?
BB: Window Shop!
WTL: Talking about shopping – what would we find when looking into your wardrobe?
BB: A lot of white. I love to wear all white- especially in New York where everyone is wearing all black.
WTL: Any style icons?
BB: Oh yes, and I do have too many! Some icons are Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Kennedy, Mary-Kate and Ashy Olsen, and Leandra Medine.
WTL: How would you describe your personal style?
BB: Simple and comfortable.
WTL: What style advice would you give?
BB: You must be comfortable… if you are not comfortable it shows.
WTL: Any secret styling tips?
BB: I almost always wear my hair in a bun… topknots are great in humidity and take no prep time.
WTL: What new designers do you watch right now?
BB: Simone Rocha and Rosie Assoulin are both new to me.
WTL: What are your favorite Instagram accounts and fashion blogs?
WTL: What are your top five songs on your playlist?
BB: Skyscarper – Elephants, Every Other Freckle – Alt J, Cant Feel My Face – The Weekend, Wait for a Minute – Tune Yards, and Harlem – Cathedrals.
WTL: What was the last book you read (and liked)?
BB: The Girl on the Train.
WTL: If you had to pick, what is your favorite movie?
BB: An Education.
WTL: What is your idea of happiness?
BB: A day exploring galleries around the city!
WTL: What are your favorite hot spots in New York?
BB: Melet Mercantile Vintage Boutique (for browsing), The Nomad Hotel, Crosby Street Hotel, Dover Street Market (for browsing), Bergdorfs (for browsing), Turn Gallery, Allouche Gallery, Taschen (book store), Bookmarc, The MoMA, and Aria Wine Bar.
WTL: Do you like to cook?
BB: I have not mastered cooking yet… but I am working on it!
WTL: If you could shop anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? What would you buy?
BB: A Dior Gown from a Dior Boutique in Paris.
WTL: What are the three items you couldn’t live without?
BB: Sketchbook. Watercolors. Iced Coffee.
WTL: If you could leave us with one thought, what would it be?
BB: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”