Richard Kilroy's upcoming book, a compendium of the greatest illustrators in menswear will be released on 23rd February, and Paul Smith is celebrating with an in-store exhibition of the originals from now until 6th March. Kilroy, an illustrator who has worked for Christian Dior, Canali and John Smedley, tutored at Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins has pulled together a list of 40 key industry leaders, including Julie Verhoeven and Richard Haines. All the drawings on display will be for sale, except the one Kilroy was commissioned to do exclusively for Paul Smith. Here Richard Kilroy answered a few questions for i-D.
Shohei, Carhartt spring/summer 12 advertising campaign, created for Carhartt, 2012. Courtesy Shohei
Why was now the time to do the book?
In the last five years there has been enough new work from the artists featured to put a volume together. We all know how much the development of menswear and grooming has increased in the last decade and how much it has affected all areas - fashion week calendar, sales increases, press. Men buy into appearance so much more now, without the shame of being seen as a big pansy or parading peacock. The increase in illustrating it it is simply in direct response.
What state do you think fashion illustration is in right now?
There are pockets of amazing illustrators doing different kinds of work for brands and designers and occasionally for editorial. There's Richard Haines for Prada and Dries, Ricardo Fumanal for V and GQ style and M/M Paris incorporating drawings into a lot of their projects.
Julie Verhoeven, Jil Sander spring/summer 09, Created for Ponystep (UK), 2008. Courtesy Julie Verhoeven
How come you're doing the exhibition at the Paul Smith space? Does he like your work?
Their gallery had previously hosted an exhibit of Rene Gruau's menswear works, so I presumed that they would have an active interest in the area, and contacted them about showcasing original work highlights from the book. They've got a really great space to display artworks and furniture along some of their menswear. The original works are also available to purchase which is a rarity in itself. I know Sir Paul has cast his eye over the selection which was done between curator Gemma Williams and the gallery. My work made the final curation, so I'm guessing he does!
Menswear Illustration (Thames & Hudson) is out on 23rd February and the exhibition is at Paul Smith, No.9 Albermarle Street, London W1S 4BL until 6th March.
Jean-Philippe Delhomme, Louis Vuitton and Prada sprin/summer 14, created for Série Limitée (Les Echos), 2012. Courtesy Jean-Philippe Delhomme