The best interviews are the most inspiring ones. I recently met my favourite fashion illustrator, Megan Hess – who has worked with everyone from Chanel, Bergdorfs to Cartier. She recently launched her new book and I had the chance to sit down to talk to her about her passion, Dubai, and what inspires her.
How does it feel to be in Dubai?
I’ve been to Dubai before, I’ve been here a couple of times for work, but this is the first time I’ve been here on my own book launch. So it’s very exciting to have my book come out here! I also actually sell a lot of things and I’ve done a lot of private commissioning for people in Dubai.
I was reading where you’ve said you drew a lot of woman in abayas!
I started to get a lot of of just one off commission pieces..just for people’s homes…and then a lot of woman from the gulf would buy my prints as bridesmaid gifts. So, over the past few years, I’ve just built up a lot of really good clients here, it’s become a region that is growing and growing..a lot of good taste in style in the region, and there’s a lot of people appreciate arts and designs.
And the burning question – how did you get into illustration?
I started graphic design, but I always wanted to get into illustration. I started doing lots of different illustration work even though I just really wanted to work on fashion and my big break came when Sex in the city author approached me and asked me to illustrate her covers – it was everywhere – on busses, billboards! The week after that, Chanel got in contact. So touch wood, it has been really great since then!
You work with such amazing brands but what has been the best project that you work on?
I have a lot of really great projects. Probably working with Cartier in Paris was really amazing, we worked together during fashion week. I illustrated all the full collection, and they really gave me free range. Just working with them and being given a free brief was really nice.
Each brand you work with is completely different, how does the process kind of happen when you collaborate with the brand?
Normally they’ll contact me and they have specific project with their working on, and for me I will really spend the initial time planning out and coming up with really good concept, and for me its finding what is unique and special about that that brand that is different to another brand and finding what it is, and the fact that they have the things that they make. what is the thing that women or men love about it and keep them coming back to it and what’s made them iconic..
Do you get inspired? or do you need to be in certain mood?
I need to be inspired and sometimes like everyone, you need to be in the mood to make it happen.
Are there certain things that inspire you?
Travelling really inspires me. When I travel, I do my meetings, but also take time sit in a really inspiring spot and notice what people wearing and what they’re doing.
I would imagine that you’d also be very picky with the projects that you take?
Once I say yes to something I commit to work so if something really good comes in the next day, I have to decline. I try to really take projects that I think that have really great creative outcomes. Not even so much about money, I just now work on things that are really good opportunities and your freedom may create something beautiful. I also try to not work with too many similar things.
Do you also do personal projects?
Yes personal projects are really fun!
Let’s talk about the book.
This is my 2nd book, and I just wanted a book that is really just fashion and I want it to put a book together that really celebrate a hundred really iconic dresses, I work it out into designers which is really hard in choosing one Chanel dress because to me there’s a million iconic Chanel dresses, it’s really difficult..I tried to choose what is really iconic at that time..
Were those pre drawn or did you draw them for the book?
I had drawn some before, but I ended up pre drawing them because I want them all to have a unified look throughout the book. I wanted to have a section which is just women that are iconic, because a lot of dresses that they have worn, had became iconic because they wore them. Some dresses in the book are really lavish and expensive, and have thousands of jewels and beading and meant to be grand and some of the dresses were inexpensive and we never meant to be iconic but something happenmed when they were worn whether it was in a scene of a film.
Is the book available globally?
Yes its coming out worldwide, we have the launched in Australia and Asia, American and European launch and now we’re doing in Middle East.
What are your beauty essentials?
For Cleanser, I really love Eve Lom, I really like Chanel for foundation and concealer, lipsticks, I like cheeks stains and illuminators and I mix it up.
Where do you get your illuminator from?
There’s a really great one from Becca. She has a really great illuminators that you mix in with your foundation, that is one I mainly use..
I heard that you live in Australia but you go to New York?
Yes a lot of people think I live in New York!
So what is your favourite hot spot in New York?
My favorite restaurant is Balthazar in Soho on Spring Street.
Other than promoting the book what are you currently working on?
I’m working on a big project in New York in a moment!