22IMG_0470This is my interview with Bil Donovan.

What was the best thing about illustrating this book? It was very important for me to celebrate and honor her spirit and style though the illustrations created for the book. So in order to get a sense of the woman behind the creations, I did quite a bit of research on Edith Head, reading biographies and articles and even seeking out one of her former assistants.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always knew I wanted to be an artist, and I had a fascination with fashion from watching old films, so it seems that fashion illustration was in my future.

What other jobs have you had? In grade school I had a paper route then I worked in a luncheonette in South Philadelphia during high school, with my best friend, Kenneth Bonavitacola, who wanted to be a fashion designer. In between making Cheese Steaks we conjured up fashion drawings on the paper used to wrap the steaks. After high school, my brother in law scored me a job at Fidelity Bank and during this period I attended Continuing Education classes at the Philadelphia College of Art. I have been a waiter and a caterer as well, anything to support the art.

What do you love most about Edith Head? She was a visionary, one of the first to promote fashion and style in the media way before the term stylist became a part of pop culture.

Do you have favorite illustrations in this book? As a child I would watch old movies and was captivated by the films that portrayed glamour and style through the presence of stars such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich and Gloria Swanson. This book gave me the opportunity to realize a dream to capture the stars of my youth through illustration. I love the illustration of Gloria Swanson, as it plays upon the glamour and style of Edith’s costume and incorporates a sense of humor with the figure of Bill Holden floating in the pool.

What’s the hardest part of your job? I am fortunate to be able to do what I love…. so that word, (hard), does not exist in my vocabulary when I am working.

What was one of the best things that happened because of this book? I was able to fulfill every fashion illustrators dream to recreate the mystique style and glamour of some very iconic Hollywood Stars from a bygone era. Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich and Kim Novak captured my imagination as a child and ignited my desire to become a fashion illustrator. So to have the opportunity to create these goddesses of style and glamour as fashion illustrations was a DREAM!

What are your favorite products? Windsor Newton Brushes, Fabriano Watercolor paper, I-phone 5, Black sketchbook, Vermentino Sauvignon Blanc, Baume Mercer watch, a Dior Homme Black Trench Coat and a very special fragrance from Dior Private Collections, Isphon Oud, that always makes my day.

Which 5 people would you like to have over for dinner? Some treasured friends, whom I lost in the AIDS crisis.

What are you working on next? An animation, which is almost complete for L’Occitane, a poster and campaign for Gigi, a Broadway musical, personal appearances for Dior at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, and some images for the St. Regis Hotels.

Read my review of ‘The Dress Doctor’ here.

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