PETRIe's International Fashion Director, Desi Lazarova, commissioned illustrator Liza Khan (soon to be known as Liza Keane) to illustrate the best of women's ready-to-wear from AW15. Lazarova speaks to Khan to find out more about the talented future Central Saint Martins' student and her work.
Desi Lazarova: You'll be starting your first year studying Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins in London this September and I was wondering what came first - a love of fashion or a love of illustration? Or did they develop consecutively?
Lisa Khan: I don't really know to be honest. Since I can remember I've been obsessed with finding beautiful images. When I was really little I used to read my mum's fashion magazines and I also collected Barbie magazines. I used to cut them up and collage them all over my bedroom. Sometimes I drew whatever I collaged; sometimes I tried to reinterpret that by putting together an outfit. Also, in terms of drawing, I went through a period of not doing it that much (when I was about seven to 11 years old) and then I picked it up again in high school (mostly out of teenage angst and frustration).
DL: Did you come to illustration after a process of experimenting with varied forms of artistic practice, or was it just a medium you felt naturally drawn to?
LK: Well I always loved drawing, but I experimented with painting and sculpture too. In high school I think most people thought I was going to be a fine artist, but I never felt like I was one. So I guess an interest in fine art combined with fashion resulted in me discovering fashion illustration.
DL: From your work I've seen so far, character is obviously a big interest of yours. Are there any particular artists who you identify with or whose work inspires you in that sense, in terms of their handling of characters and stories?
LK: In terms of characters I definitely have a very strong idea of how I want women to look, so that's where the face and body shape comes from, although it always changes slightly over time. Most of the illustrators that I find inspiring are really different to me though, like Richard Kilroy and Peter Turner, for example. I think that's because I'm interested in how other people use various media, colour etc, because you can learn from that and apply it to your own work, in your own way, whereas a character is a character and it belongs to the individual/illustrator, so you can't really take too much inspiration from it.
DL: You were commissioned to illustrate my favourite looks from AW15. Who are your favourite designers and what did you think of this season's collections?
LK: I loved Claire Barrow, some looks from Prada and I'm kind of unsure about Margiela. Galliano is one of my all time favourite designers, but I wish he was doing his own thing rather than designing for Margiela. Having said that though, I think it might be exciting to see what he'll do with it. Overall I think fashion is becoming very safe, minimal and commercial and that bores me to death. No one is putting on exciting shows or creating anything new. I do think there are still some really exciting designers left, like Ed Marler, Prada, Westwood etc. but it's really sad to see that fashion is becoming so dull and losing huge talents like Meadham Kirchhoff.
Words: Desi Lazarova