-by Dan dos Santos

Costume design is an integral part of any good fantasy illustration.

A good costume can be the main driving force of a composition, or it can be used to add a deeper backstory to your character. Either way, it’s importance is not to be understated.

I gained an intense interest in fashion starting back in High School. Though, you wouldn’t guess it by looking at me now, since I rarely get out of my pajamas these days. I do however still maintain that interest, and try to implement it’s influence in my work whenever I can.

Two of my favorite designers, by far, are Jean Paul Gaultier and the late Alexander McQueen.

Jean Paul Gaultier, born in 1952, is a staple in the world of fashion.  Pioneering the use of unconventional models, like those that are heavily tattooed, pierced, transgender and even obese, he made a huge impact on the fashion world in the 1980’s. He is self-taught, and is best know for his edgy, almost futuristic look. Relying heavily on leather and often utilizing a lot of metal in his designs, his work is perfect inspiration for the SFF artist. It’s no wonder he was selected as the lead clothing designer for films such as ‘The Fifth Element’ and ‘The City of Lost Children’.

Some of my favorite Gaultier designs:

Another one of my favorites is Alexander McQueen. Alexander managed to make a major impact on the industry in a very short time before he committed suicide last year at the age of 40. For me, Gaultier is a master of texture… but McQueen is the master of textile. He could take fairly simple patterns, and make them absolutely extraordinary with just the use of color. Pure, unadulterated design. Alexander is the perfect example of the old adage ‘Less is more’. It’s a shame we won’t get to see where he would have taken it.
Obviously the work of these two men span much more than what is shown here. I implore you seek out more. If you have any personal favorites, please share them with us in the comments section.