Sartorial Womanhood by Illustrator Isabelle Feliu
Following Isabelle Feliu on Instagram is guaranteed to add a light and summery breath of fresh air to your feed. Her illustrations portray bountiful and confident women donning the trendiest of clothes while relaxing on exotic islands. It’s womanhood depicted in the most delightful way possible!
Born in Québec, Canada, Isabelle Feliu studied Fashion Design at Campus-Notre-Dame-de-Foy in Québec city, and then Fashion merchandising at UQAM in Montréal. She moved to Norway a couple years back and now resides in Oslo. Becoming a freelance illustrator wasn’t always in the cards for Isabelle, she worked as an assistant designer before she finally decided to become an illustrator. As she moved to Norway she suddenly had a lot of time on her hands and so she started to draw and paint a lot, posting her work on social media. And in due time, her illustrations started to generate the attention they deserve.
Mainly using watercolour and gauche paint, Isabelle is not afraid to go at it with the colour scheme. Her work is bright, playful and very tasteful. The consistent theme in each depiction is diverse feminine figures, wearing super cute outfits and relaxing among fruit and palm trees. Her unique style and positive message make for work that is very with the times and, thus, is in high demand. Collaborating with brands such as Puma, Whit NY, Soi Paris and Marie Claire, everybody wants a piece of the Feliu aesthetic.
With a mother from Honduras, Isabelle’s images are often a nostalgic declaration of love to Latin culture. Add an obsessive passion for fashion and you have yourself the building blocks for her art. Her mum was a seamstress who encouraged Isabelle to design her own clothes that she then would make (which, for the record, sounds like my literal dream childhood.) This spurred her love for fashion and clothes. Isabelle uses the Vogue runway app religiously, looking at fashion shows, trying to pool inspiration for her next illustration. And when you think about it, the outfits that her subjects are sporting are truly so chic? Where is this exotic place where only fashionable women reside and how can I get a one-way ticket?
When Isabelle first started making fashion illustrations in school she illustrated the typical long and skinny models, but she quickly became bored with it. In an interview with Sense of Creativity, she talks about why she enjoys showing body diversity through her illustrations:
“The fashion industry is just starting to show more diversity through fashion shows, campaigns, etc. and I would love to do the same trough illustrations.”
Preach, Isabelle. Diversity is long overdue in the fashion industry (and just about everywhere else too) and so anything that is pioneering within that field is something I am very here for.
Isabelle elaborated on the same topic in an interview with the Oxfordist, stating that “I like to illustrate diversity. Being myself the daughter of an Honduran Immigrant and being now an immigrant in Norway, I think there is so many strengths and beauty in cultural diversity, and that it could definitely be more valued in some countries.” Once again. Preach.
I’ll be keeping close tabs on this emerging talent. Because although her work might already have gone viral, I do believe there is much more in the bag for Isabelle Feliu. Her very own clothing line? Wouldn’t that be amazing!? Until then, I guess I’ll just sit back and let her colourful illustrations of sartorial women grace my Instagram feed.