Hello Gorgeous: Megan Hess, Fashion Illustrator
Consider yourself a stylista and you’ll be familiar with Megan Hess’ fab fashion illustrations. The Melbourne-based designer’s elegant pen drawings, infused with old-world glamour, have graced the pages of Vanity Fair, TIME magazine, Italian Vogue, and she’s been commissioned for label Mabels such as Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada and Fendi – to name a few.
It was while working as an art director for Liberty’s of London that Megan started illustrating, producing small pieces for Liberty and other clients. Then one night in 2006, Megan received a call from Candace Bushnell’s publisher… she hasn’t looked back since.
Tell us about your big break
In 2006 I got a call in the middle of the night from Candace Bushnell’s publisher asking if I would illustrate her next novel ‘One Fifth Avenue’. Her book became a New York Times bestseller and I met with Candace and she asked me to illustrate all her previous books including the cover of ‘Sex and The City’. Once ‘Sex and the City’ was released I was contacted by TIME magazine and Vanity Fair in New York to create portraits for them. This was when things took off at rapid speed. Ironically, at the same time I had my first baby; it's funny, I always tell people that I haven't slept properly since 2006.
Where do you find inspiration?
From everything and everyone! I seem to find inspiration when I’m least expecting it. I love beautiful photography books, traveling and just getting out of the studio and seeing other exciting things that are happening in the world. In terms of subject matter, I find people and all their differences and quirks the most inspiring. I’m at my absolute happiest when I’m ‘people watching’ and sketching all that I see!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Every Saturday as a child I went to art classes – it was my absolute favourite day of the week! At the end of one of the classes I spoke with my art teacher Janet Thomas about the possibility of being an artist when I grew up – I was unsure if it was something that you could actually make a living from. She looked at me and said: ‘do what you love and the money will follow’. I held onto that advice for many years to follow and eventually I came to realise that it was absolutely true.
Balancing kids, work and travel… what’s your secret?
It’s not easy! Any trips that I do for work without my kids, I do as quick as I can; I can pack a week’s schedule into 48 hours. When I do travel with my kids I always try to get them really prepared for the destination – it makes them appreciate where they’ve travelled to so much more. Travel is the biggest inspiration and it’s what broadens our minds the most, so I think any travel my kids can be exposed to is a great thing.
Five places on your travel wish list?
And right now, I’m dreaming of the Greek Islands...
48 hours in any city, which would you choose?
New York is probably my favourite city in the entire world, and it’s somewhere I’ve travelled back and forth to for about 15 years. I fell in love with the energy of the city straight away – the noise, the people, the diversity between Uptown and Downtown.
Most Instagram-worthy destination?
I just recently got back from the South of France staying at the stunning Hotel Du Cap Eden Roc in Cannes and Chateau Saint-Martin in Vence. Both were so breathtakingly beautiful and very, very Instagram-worthy.
Where do you find yourself always returning to?
Port Douglas in Australia. I just love sitting by the water indulging in fresh seafood and Champagne. All I need is my husband, my kids and a good book and I’m set. Bliss.
Favourite hotel, restaurant and bar in the world?
Hotel: Le Bristol, Paris. It’s my home-away-from-home in Paris and it’s the perfect mix of Parisian city chic with a boutique feel.
Restaurant: Balthazar, New York. The perfect food, wine and ambiance.
Bar: The Library Bar in The Lanesborough, London. Dark, moody and filled with heritage, this bar is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of red or one of their mini cocktails.
What are you creating right now?
I'm currently working on one of the most exciting collaborations I have ever worked on as it brings together all my favourite elements. It is with the fabulous Oetker Collection Hotel Group and involves sketching architectural and interiors scenes, and sprinkling them with all the eclectic people you would expect to find there. I get to travel around the world and experience all these different amazing hotels too, which is exciting, not least because they’re some of the most luxurious in the world.
What's next for Megan Hess?
This October I will release my 5th Book - PARIS! It’s been a year in the making and I can’t tell you how excited I am to share all my favourite Paris locations with everyone. It’s a city that makes my heart melt and it was so much fun to write and illustrate.
To see more of Megan’s work, visit meganhess.com
A spur-of-the-moment decision to move to Bangkok brought Liz to Asia in 2003, where 15 years and three countries later, she's in Hong Kong heading up LUXE editorial.
- Liz LOVES... Chilli (on everything), getting lost in cities, hiking, people-watching at airports
- Liz LOATHES... Suburbia, MSG
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