International fashion illustrator Megan Hess has worked for some of the most prestigious names in fashion, including Dior, Chanel, Fendi, Givenchy and Balmain. She’s even been commissioned by Michelle Obama.
Megan started out studying graphic design, but soon realised she could make a living from her unique illustrations. In 2008, Candace Bushnell, author of the novel Sex And The City, delivered her big break: she discovered Megan’s work in Italian Vogue and commissioned her to illustrate the covers of her books.
This opportunity launched Megan into the mainstream market, taking her from a small-time illustrator to an artist whose designs were plastered across Times Square and in every major bookshop around the world.
Since then, she’s been commissioned by luxury brands, created accessories for Henri Bendel and illustrated the shop windows of Bergdorf Goodman.
Megan’s characters inhabit an imaginary world that’s not too far off reality: think chic women sitting on top of taxis or perching on the edge of hot-air balloons. There’s a clear element of fantasy and aspiration, but her drawings also incorporate real, tangible objects – from beautiful buildings to iconic landmarks.
Megan’s frequent touring helps her to catch the spirit and style of women in locations all over the world. Whether it’s Dubai, Paris, London, New York, LA or Australia, each place represents a different type of woman, each with their own look and charm. Her most recent book delves into life in New York and acts as a travel guide; it’s filled with illustrations capturing the women that inhabit the city and explores the places they like to spend their time – from shops to museums.
“Most of my projects are never in one city, so I loved that aspect and I was very immersed in that period of illustrating,” she says. “There’s over 100 illustrations of New York in the book from the past year.”
Whilst her work for Candace Bushnell holds a sentimental place in her heart, the work she is most proud of is her collaboration with Prada, where she was asked to come up with a creative concept for an animation and develop the sketches that would bring it to life. She’s also proud of her illustrations for Fendi, which she produced live during their catwalk shows at Fashion Week.
Her weekly Instagram posts take her just 15 minutes to complete – whereas larger projects from clients can vary from a few weeks to a couple of months.
With over 35 luxury fashion clients under her belt and A-listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss requesting private commissions, it’s clear the illustrator won’t be short of work in 2017. She’s also about to start a project in collaboration with Oetker Collection Hotels, sketching and travelling to their nine masterpiece hotels, capturing the essence of each city as well as the people that occupy it.
However, it would appear that an impressive portfolio of sketches isn’t quite enough for her. Megan has also just unveiled a paper tray collection, inspired by her own desk sanctuary where she spends most of her time. The collection features piano lacquered trays with her signature illustrations on them, now available to buy on her website.