Catherine Parr, an illustrator born in England and presently based in Los Angeles, creates images that are drenched in high fashion reverie, amorous imagery and the unmistakable allure of cinematic moments. Strikingly expressed through the use of bold and subtle yet captivating colors and backdrops, Catherine Parr reawakens our senses to the luxury and brilliance of a fine moment, of glamour, of haute couture, to the refinement of a stunning garment , and to the whimsy of a decadent fantasy. Her clients include The Los Angeles Times, Dickies, Detour Magazine and Village Voice
Ditte: When did you know you wanted to be a fashion illustrator?
Catherine Parr: I never made a conscious decision to be a fashion illustrator – I honestly just stumbled into it. I don’t consider myself a illustrator in the traditional sense. I find I am increasingly more interested in the simple act of painting. I really admire illustrators such as Julie Verhoven and Natasha Law who have incredibly strong and unique styles and believe they are great painters in their own right. For now, I still haven’t found my style. Until I do (or don’t) I am simply experimenting. Luckily, clients and customers respond to my work.
D: What is your relationship with fashion?
CP: I am inspired every time I see collections at the fashion shows, look into Liberty’s windows in London, or by someone on the street who looks amazing. Annie Hall was on TV last night. Diane Keaton in those clothes…fabulous! Fashion is all around us. And of course I love the Sartorialist’s blog!
D: On your Etsy shop it states that you gather inspiration from numerous sources such as French and Italian cinema, dance and theatre. You can really get a feel of that in your art; there’s movement, it’s dramatic, captivating and there’s a hint of something vintage and European emanating from your work. What are some of your favorite French and Italian films?
CP: Thank you. A hint of vintage and European influence is a wonderful compliment! There are so many films – some that have just one or two unforgettable scenes, and others I could watch a hundred times. I am drawn to European cinema. In fact, I love all kinds of film, not only because I watched them extensively growing up (my mom watched every classic movie in existence), but many films that I love captivate me with beautiful cinematography and inspiring costume or set design. Some of my favorite classics are La Dolce Vita, La Strada, The Red Balloon and The Bicycle Thief. Also, Institute Benjamenta is a memorable film that doesn’t follow a particular structure or formula. Jules and Jim – when Jeanne Moreau walks out of the house disguised as a man. New films such as Amelie, Seraphine and Dans Paris, which has a beautiful scene in Paul’s house – the sets are gorgeous.
D: Are there any particularly memorable projects that stand out for you in your career?
CP: Costume designers Mona May (Enchanted) and Kym Barrett (The Matrix, Monster in Law) are two of the nicest women to work for in Hollywood.
D: You were raised in England, and currently you’re based out of Los Angeles- has your career provided you with the opportunity to travel? Have you been able to visit countries you’d never thought imaginable?
CP: I have been fortunate (or cursed) to have the kind of wanderlust that enabled me to take off on a whim, fall in love with a place and then decide to live there for awhile! I have lived in some major European cities and spent months in Greece and Italy working summer jobs because I didn’t want to go the tourist route or stay for just 2 weeks. I love Los Angeles, and when I arrived I planned to just stay for a few months. I recently realized that I have been here the longest of all! LA has so much to offer beyond the obvious lure, and my goal is to eventually live here part of the year and England the rest of the time. Maybe I will just head for Australia! But I love Europe because you can be in Paris in a few hours by train, spend the weekend in Amsterdam, and fly to Italy to do some people watching…..! The beauty of a successful Etsy shop is that you can live anywhere.
D: What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming year?
CP: Painting! Going to my studio with that first cup of coffee with the whole day ahead of me to just paint. Visiting the English countryside to paint ancient oak trees and rolling hills.
For more on Catherine Parr and to view more of her work please visit: