I first saw Manny More's fashion illustrations when he contributed his work to a mutual friend's fashion exhibition. He drew a series of pictures featuring Judith Frankland wearing her own designs, capturing her infectious energy and inimitable flair with his lively, expressive strokes. Later, I got to have a look through his sketchbook and observe the scope of Manny's illustrative talents through his creative use of materials and drawing techniques. His pictures are too beautiful and compelling not to be seen by as many as possible, so I wanted to feature Manny here. However, his work has already caught the eye and made a fan of one of fashion's most illustrious design greats - read on to find out who!
How long have you been drawing and illustrating?
Since I was a little boy. I’ve always been fascinated with drawing, to me an illustration is like a piece of music which has the magic to take you to a different place, to alter your mood, to make you feel uplifted.
You're Brazilian and are now based in London. Tell us how living in each place has shaped you as a creative.
I was born and raised in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, in the small town Sao Sebastian do Cai. I come from a family of lawyers, and of course I was the black sheep, the only child who didn't study law. The majority of my extended family are lawyers or barristers including my brother and sister, whereas I went to study fashion which was quite a brave move when it comes to Gaucho macho culture in southern Brazil, so I packed my bags and I started my own journey.
I moved to Rio de Janeiro and studied fashion design at the CETIQT, then after I finished my studies I moved back to my home town of POA where I set up my own school of fashion and illustration with a group of friends. After several years of running the school we realised we had created this hub where people come to do art exhibitions, markets and fashion shows. We had so many people coming through this very cool space. Then, many small businesses needed help building their own collections so we started doing consulting for them. But I felt the need to travel and immerse myself in a different culture.
London here I come! I arrived here with little money in my pocket and the need to get a job, it was very difficult to combine work with my passion for drawing, so drawing took a back seat for a while. But London is such a good exercise for your eyes with so many cultures in a single town, and eventually I had to get back into my sketching and capture the life happening around me. When I did it was beyond a pleasure and this town has taught me a great lesson, that you never give up on your dreams. *JAZZ HANDS*
What is it about fashion that inspires you?
I love fashion but to me it is beyond the clothes when a designer puts a collection together, it is about an attitude, a feeling of what is happening in that moment. He is showing his vision, his reality, his dreams. If you watch the movie Le Bal by Ettore Scola, it shows the changing of society through the 1920s to the 1980s. There is no dialogue and during the movie the years pass, and the attitude, the mood and body language change over time and create almost a caricature of the moment. I find it fascinating, you only need to decode it.
Which media do you prefer to work in?
I work in any media as long as I can express myself and it works to give me the final product. Gouache, pastel, watercolour, collage, etc. and some unusual things like gaffer tape which has a great texture. I’m not too keen on digital – I much prefer to touch and feel the texture of real paint and paper. Any excuse to go out and buy another sketchbook!
Who are the designers whose work inspires you to take out your sketchbook?
I call them the old school ones: Jean-Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Xuly Bët, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent, Miuccia Prada, Valentino, Adeline André, Elsa Schiaparelli.
You received a special acknowledgment from John Galliano - what was that like?!
Beyond thrilled!!! I was so excited to receive an endorsement from somebody I have admired for so many years. Galliano (now creative director at Maison Margiela) is the most talented visionary in the fashion world, and for him to like and comment positively on a piece of my work is such an honour! It pushed me to carry on with my work and use social media as a platform to publish my work and get it out into the digital world. John Galliano posted and praised Manny's illustration of his design on instagram
Fashion illustrators that have influenced you?
Wow! There are so many but I’ll have a go! Here are a few of them: Patricio Bisso for his humour; Rene Gruau for his imagination; Viramontes for his agility; the sensuality of Antonio Lopez: and the elegance of Mats Gustafson. There are many others that have inspired me over the years such as: Joe Eula, Erte, Paul Block, Alceu Pena, Bil Donovan, Lautrec, Meisel, Daniel Maia and Julie Verhoeven.
Where would you like to take your illustration talents, ideally?
When it comes to my illustrations I am quite self-conscious about them – almost shy. With the advent of social media such as Instagram and Tumblr and others, people like me are able to show work without the need of an intermediate; the ability to show your work to many people and receive comments and opinions on the piece of work. You never know, one day social media may make me a household name (laughs). Stranger things have happened!
Yes they have Manny! You're already known to your beloved Galliano and it doesn't really get better than that.
Here's a look at more stunning illustrations of current and past fashion that inspired Manny to take brush to paper, and you can follow him on instagram to see more and keep up with his fashion work.