Somerset House – Photography Courtesy of ©Cindy Fournier (C.)

Considered as the prison to the soul in Antiquity, referring to Plato’s theory, the body went more recently through the lenses of modernity and got separated from the mind, becoming a supernumerary entity to be used only as a presence’s artefact (Le Breton 1999). Real, from the gaze to the lead, Richard Haines goes the other way and embraces life through both bodies and souls, drawing them from the heart. “As long as it is your voice, I think that it is what art is.“ There was something reassuring in the words of the fashion illustrator, a creative intimacy carrying stories of moments and shapes put together. Representing fashion starts from the love of sharing the everywhere and time of a lifespan; “but how to tell it in a different way?“ Richard Haines did not study illustration but graphic and commercial art. Neither was his moving to New York the “ticket to fabulous“, perhaps not at first.

His journey developed from the navy blazer American guy, designing at Perry Ellis then Calvin Klein, to the Bushwick London boy, wandering the streets to catch the traits of “incredible good-looking souls.“ Before experimenting such a ‘culture shock’ and fully living the beginning of the hipsters’ era from the inside, he got fired. A fashion illustrator remains human after all. However, this financial episode brought a decisive creative impulse and pushed him into the blogosphere. The matter was not to make things happen but simply to do what he loves. Having the opportunity to share it with the world was the icing on the cake; pointing at technologies, he encourages the exposure of artworks on social media today, without “chasing after likes and creating for this purpose.“

Immediacy. He draws to catch its movement and intensity. “Someone waiting for the train,“ embodies what he is looking for. Repetition does not appeal to him, but like Warhol, the everyday awaits for its extraordinary to get extracted and thrown onto the world’s face. Richard Haines’ daughter struggles to understand why her father got such a spectrum of attention; he wonders too. His online portfolio, “What I Saw Today“, curates the fashion of New York City, informing his emotional stroke. It might be because of his sentimental eyes that wandering souls accepts his invitation to pose on paper; opposite to Baudrillard (2004), banality on the street forms a spectacle, far from being plane and insignificant to the illustrator.

Society’s swinging mood is not easy and challenges all industries, the creative sphere included. Why would fashion designers ask fashion illustrators to draw live on their creations, just before throwing them on the catwalk? What about integrating their drawings in a virtual IPad shopping room? Perhaps, as an attempt to weaken a digital domination through pen and paper, refocusing on the present through one’s eyes and none camera’s lens. YSL’s magnificent muse, Victoire, might have sent a friend request to Richard’s Facebook page, but the love and admiration he has developed for her was born from the rustle of Givenchy silhouettes dancing on paper in 1963.


Find Richard Haines’ work here.

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