Papier Passions

Sabrina Percy Turns Papier Into Fashion

The fashion illustrator reimagines Papier prints as catwalk couture.


Sabrina Percy



Fashion illustration may have long been overtaken by colour photography as the go-to art form for representing the latest looks on the catwalk but it can still offer an emotional, unique perspective.

For Sabrina Percy, fashion illustrator and FROW regular, the world of couture, located away from the ever-changing, trend-led influence of seasonal catwalk shows, is where fashion illustration still finds a spiritual style home. “Couture is an expression of craftsmanship; an opportunity to let creativity and inspiration run wild, not bound by the limitations and concerns of the market and what the consumer wants,” Sabrina says. “That's why as a fashion illustrator I find couture so inspiring. I often find the items a work of art in themselves, and feel compelled to draw them.”

We asked Sabrina to reimagine six Papier prints as fashion illustrations. So, she picked her favourites and transposed them to some of her favourite designs from this year's Paris Couture Week.

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Look inspired by: Jean Paul Gaultier
Papier print: Nova Canary by Luke Edward Hall

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Look inspired by: Ronald van der Kemp
Papier print: Ludo Pink by Luke Edward Hall

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Look inspired by: Celia Kritharioti
Papier print: Marble Sea by Papier

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Look inspired by: Georges Hobeika
Papier print: Marbre Rouge by Katie Leamon and Leopard Pink by Bow & Arrow Press

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Look inspired by: Givenchy
Papier print: Blue Splatter by Papier

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Look inspired by: Giambattista Valli
Papier print: Palm Fronds by Papier

In Sabrina's opinion, illustration expresses a more personal reaction to couture than photography ever can: "You are able to look at the clothes and characterise them based on the emotional response you get when you first see them. Brush strokes, the thickness of lines, speed and detail are all tools an illustrator can use to emit different moods. With an illustration you are always going to have the artist’s reaction and interpretation of what they see, so if you had five illustrators at a show, even though they are all sketching the same clothes, each illustration will be totally unique, whereas the same diversity in the image is unlikely to be achieved by having five photographers.”

And if Sabrina could choose only one of these designs to wear? “I'm somewhat in love with No 5. – the Givenchy outfit. It's so unusual it just naturally grabs my eye.”

Discover more of Sabrina's art on her website or if you want to style up your desk, take a front row seat at our stationery catwalk below.