From left: Martin’s La Vie Chère, 1920; Mats Gustafson’s Red Dress, Yohji Yamamoto, 1999.

Snazzy iPad apps and ingenious YouTube clips are all very well when it comes to fashion imagery, but what of the humble sketch? “Drawing Fashion,” at London’s Design Museum (November 3 to March 6, 2011), celebrates the key illustrators who have captured the spirit, style, and, indeed, shape of each successive age—from René Gruau in the Fifties and Antonio Lopez in the Sixties to the present-day work of Mats Gustafson and François Berthoud. Colin McDowell, the show’s cocurator, argues that a reappraisal of the art form is seriously overdue. “For a long time illustration was the prime means of spreading the fashion story across the globe,” he observes. “It’s still enormously relevant today. In terms of elegance and beauty, there is so much that a great drawing can tell us that simply nothing else can.”

Courtesy of the Design Museum