How many of you have seen this iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe? I am betting that if it looks familiar, you would attribute it to the work of Andy Warhol. But this wonderful illustration was done by Michaele Vollbracht - fashion designer/illustrator and my absolute favorite instructor and fashion mentor at Parsons School of Design in the early 1970’s.
Each week I traveled with him to the Costume Lab in the basement of the Metropolitan Museum. He spoke with undying love and passion about textiles, style, designers and fashion history dating back centuries. He inspired everyone around him with his talent, knowledge, dashing good looks and incredible charm. Prior to his career he had also studied Fashion at Parsons, where after graduation he was asked to continue on teacher and mentor.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1947, he designed under his own name, as well as for his mentor - Bill Blass. He also created for Geoffrey Beene, and Donald Brooks. He became the in house illustrator for Henri Bendel NYC and later Bloomingdales’s where he designed the stores famous “Face Bag” which was carried out by thousands of shoppers. He won the coveted Coty Award for his signature line in 1979.
Though well known in the industry as a fashion illustrator, he always considered himself a designer first. In 1985 his book - “Nothing Sacred” was published. It is a visual diary of his years in New York City and the many people he interacted with.
In 1989 The New Yorker named him one of its top illustrators for the numerous illustrations and covers he created for them.
The 1970’s through 80’s gave us so many gifted designers that have influenced both style, art, culture and history. I hope that when you look upon this period of fashion history you will be sure take the time to immerse yourself with the amazing work of Michaele Vollbrecht. If you love fashion you will not be disappointed. Surely he will continue to inspire me forever. Thank you Michaele. Job well done
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