The Modern Erté

Illustrator Cassandre Montoriol continues the tradition of blending graphic design and high fashion. Montoriol’s work, which can be seen on the following pages as well as at, combines chic silhouettes with splashes of watercolor. She’s an ambassador of an old-school technique, which is finding its way into mainstream popularity once again. She began her career as an illustrator in 1997, taking note of works by the likes of famed illustrators such as Jean-Philippe Delhomme and Maira Kalman, and designer Tsumori Chisato. From her home in Paris, Montoriol shares her thoughts on the trend.

Why do you think there has been a resurgence in fashion illustrations as a popular detail in fine art and magazines?

Everything old is new again. I recently discovered a wonderful report made by the talented illustrator Jacqueline Duhême for the French Elle in 1961 about Jackie Kennedy’s world travels. It was as fresh today as it was then. Illustrations as an artform are timeless.

Why do you like to do fashion illustrations versus other types of drawings?

I like them because I love fashion! So it’s great to use my work to express how I feel. But I also like to draw a variety of things—not only fashion—and all the fields I work in feed each other.

What’s the most challenging thing you have illustrated?

An annual report for Hermès. I did a catalog for them, and it was very free form. I drew all the accessories in my way, but for the annual report I had to do drawings based on existing pictures of Hermès accessories. It was difficult to do something great, yet fun and with some impact. And above all, many people gave their critiques, which is never easy.