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The Future According to Pippa McManus

– by Elizabeth Sonter

Last week, Fashion Illustrator Pippa McManus launched her new exhibition ‘In Bloom’ at Many6160 in Fremantle, collaborating with Fashion Stylist Emma Bergmeier-Varian, Photographer Caitlin Washington and Florist Fox and Rabbit.

The collaboration set a multi-stage standard for fashion art as the artistic process involved Caitlin photographing model Narcisa Music, and Pippa turning the photographs into decadent paintings that would beautify any wall.

Each piece boasted wild arrays of stunning colour pairings, the dominant palette choice across the canvasses shown in the flowers, lips, nails and cheeks. Even Pippa’s favourite painting was not excused from this colour palette; the title itself gave away her love for it.

“My favourite is definitely Roses and Rubies. Her pink lips were not a mistake, but it worked better than what I had planned. The paint bled, and it’s kind of fun when paint does what it wants to do”.

Although her paintings seem to come easily to the talented artist, she admitted there are times when she faces a challenge.

”I don’t really have a least favourite – I always have a ‘biggest battle’, but I would never put anything up that I didn’t love. But if I had to choose, I would say that the one with the fern was my biggest battle.”

On looking at the painting, you can see why. It’s all green. Minus pink lips, red nails and orange eye illumination, the focus is on Narcisa’s haunting expression, which is exacerbated by the deep green that envelopes her.

“It was a battle because I’m so used to drawing flowers and having different colours in one piece, and with [the fact it is] green, and I was like ‘What else can I do?… A different colour green!’ But then I made the orange in her eyes as well, so that kind of stood out”.

Being obsessed with finding the next big thing, Pippa was excited to name her next model of choice.

“I went to the Topshop launch a few weeks ago in Perth and ended up sitting next to the girl that played guitar at the event. She was gorgeous! I googled her when I got home because she had the most incredible face, really wide eyes and a beautiful blunt fringe. I found her in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue – her name is Matilda Dods.”

Dods, a guitarist/model has appeared on Pippa’s canvas, ‘Trippy Gypsy’, and is one to keep an eye on in the future according to Pippa.

Pippa herself looked comfortably eclectic in her Romance Was Born sequin top – that would remind you of Cinderella and Snow White with its doe-eyed bird and bunny print. Matched with a high-waisted red skirt and red, velvet heels, Pippa was picturesque topped with a crown of ferns, like all the collaborators at the event, like a special club. It’s intriguing and maybe a little bit ‘dress up box’ for some, but paired with a fantastic cheeky smile, it couldn’t be a better fit.

Pippa is now looking forward to the new year with a new look for Pippa McManus Illustration.

Photo credit: Pippa McManus

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