Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Fashion Illustrations and Working Sketches of Jean Paul Goude.

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Drugstore Fop, 1966.

Jean Paul Goude's current retrospective 'Goudemalion' at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris has resulted in the release of a new book to coincide with the exhibition, simply titled 'Jean Paul Goude'. I was hesitant to see just how much new work would be in the book, given that I already own So Far So Goude (2005) and The Goude Touch (2009), both fantastic titles showing just as many working sketches as they do final works and photography. It's incredibly surprising then just how much new work and previously unseen sketches have made it into the new book. Unable to attend the exhibition, this new volume, with over FIVE HUNDRED images, will ease the pain of not being able to see most of it in person.

The beauty of Goude's work lies in its humour and delightful daftness as much as it does his strong visual language, and the ability to combine both effortlessly. Thanks to his past work as an illustrator / artist / painter / graphic designer, his working sketches have become an integral part of his portfolio and have surpassed the idea of more than just a working doodle. All of his books contain large amounts of them and are just as joyful and inspirational as his photography.

Within the visual language of his idea sketches are strong lines, blocks, cut ups, altered borders and heavy edges. What separates his style from others is that he doesn't just consider these an illustrative element or just part of his drawing style. He completely lifts them as inspiration, and uses them straight into his photography. Basically, his drawing technique informs his photography style, as opposed to just sketching out an idea, then photographing it.

indian ink on tracing paper, 1969.

(So Far So Goude dates this as 1969, whereas Jean Paul Goude dates it as 1966.)

detail of wall fresco for Printemps, 1966.

All for Printemps, 1964.

Jean Paul considers his early fashion illustration work for Printemps to be the beginning of his suited style, which suited both his 'morphology and dreams of rising up socially'. He used his friends as models after being asked to fill the empty walls of Printemps' mens store, Brummel.
"They were all there: Maurice, Albert, and Jean-Jacques, all very chic, brought together in a giant fresco that ran the whole length of the store. In my narcissistic quest for personal elegance, I had become, without being quite aware of it, a kind of reference for the 'drugstore fops,' the real ones, those from Passy."

My favourite in particular is the figure slouched in the chair, one accentuated square shoulder and fading legs, finished with the shoe outline. It's beautifully expressive and just slightly abstract in its finish. This out of all them is the best indicator of where Goude's style would go.

An interesting excerpt from the new book:
"As a child I was fascinated by René Gruau's drawings that were pasted up all over Paris. . . After an extremely promising start, my career as a fashion illustrator finished in bitter failure. It all started when the artistic director of the printemps department store, Kimpy Baumgartner, suggested I cover the walls of the store with my drawings. They were brush and ink drawings, quite spirited, showing my little gang from Saint Mandé with the new look I lavished on them. So not a great thing to do for a commission. I'd forgotten that my role was to make a case for what the client was supposed to be selling. The fashion of the time that I'd been asked to interpret for the store was the complete opposite of what I considered stylish - it just couldn't work. After a year the freshness of my first drawings had evaporated, and i was totally out of favour. I was barely 24 years old."

for Esquire, pencil, 1976.

Continue Reading . . .

gouache sketch, 1957.

Gouache sketch, 1957.

gouache sketch, 1960.

Working Sketches . . .
These are paramount to the identity of Jean Paul Goude. The ones featured here are mainly for his muses Grace and Farida, and for his longstanding creative output for Galleries Lafayette, for which the book The Goude Touch is completely dedicated to. Maybe it's because I'm an illustrator myself, but I seem to find myself looking through his sketches more than his final work now. You can see just how much inspiration he gets directly from his muses and where his imagination takes him, even if the idea doesn't become further realised than the sketch itself. Despite owning all currently available titles on his work, I would quite happily buy another full of just his working sketches alone. Truly inspiring.


Toukie, 1973.

for Galleries Lafayette:

L'Homme, 2003.

Retro Chic, 2004.

L'Homme, 2004.


L'Amazone, 2002.

Chanel Egoiste, excerpt from storyboard, 1994.

Farida . . . .

'Hairstyle drawing for Farida', 1984.







Grace . . .


'Battling Grace', 1978

'Battling Grace', 1978


'First impression of Grace', 1978

'Grace revised and updated', 1978

'Fatherhood Sketch at compass point studios', 1980

'Grace on her way to manhood', 1980.

Libertango costume design, 1981.

Libertango costume design, 1981.

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