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Fashion Week: Illustrators Seek Picture-Perfect Looks Without Cameras

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During Fashion Week, 2,000 members of the press come to capture every moment, but there are also spot some special artists who are looking for that picture perfect look without their cameras. NY1's Jessica Abo filed the following report.

Photographers from all over the world fly in for Fashion Week, but among the flashes, you'll find fashion illustrator Claire Thompson in the front row.

"I studied fashion design in school, and I've always painted my whole life, so I kind of naturally went towards the illustration route than sewing," Thompson says.

She does everything from custom pieces and corporate events to work with fashion designers behind the scenes.

"Sometimes, fashion illustrators are used at the very beginning stages of the design process, and other times, it's at the vert end, when you're at a runway show or you're illustrating stuff from their look book for them to kind of produce and publish," Thompson says.

Thompson says she's always been attracted to vibrant colors, but she almost lost her ability to see them. Just before she took a job in France, she went for a routine eye doctor appointment that changed her life.

"When I was 20, I almost went blind, and I underwent emergency retinal reattachment surgery," she says. "So when I moved to France, I just spent my recovery living out there, and that's actually why I painted so much, 'cause I kind of had a love affair with color, and I just wanted to paint everything I saw."

These days, she's keeping busy expanding her menswear portfolio.

Amazed at what she does, and how she doesn't, I decided to try my hand at this at the the tents.

Abo: We are in our seats at the Carmen Marc Valvo show. Claire, what should I keep in mind as the models come down the runway?
Thompson: I think the most important thing is to focus on the movement. You really want to capture that, and you want to capture the overall silhouette.
Abo: How many models do you think you'll capture in this show?
Thompson: I usually capture about five or six. That's usually what I aim for.
Abo: OK, I'm going to go for one, and we'll see how I do!

I actually did better than I thought I would, and painted nine looks in all. The paparazzi event stopped to take our pictures.

By the time I got to the end, I really got the hang of it.

"I think this looks really cool," Thompson says. "It looks like a collection, everything looks kind of similar, but each piece has something a little bit different about it, which is nice, and your style definitely shows through, and you did a really good job not focusing on the details, but just kind of getting the overall movement and the essence from the collection through."

I think I'll leave the illustrating up to the professionals and try to leave my mark – I mean, watermark - in some other fashion.

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