Fashion and Art Collide

Published on 14 December 2017

You might have seen Jayson Brunsdon’s bold, colourful illustrations gracing the walls at Eastland, or lighting up Instagram as shoppers stop for the perfect selfie. Maybe you’ve seen a vibrant printed dress sashaying its way around the Myer fitting rooms making someone feel happy and gorgeous. That would be Jayson’s doing as well – he is a man of many talents. Fashion illustrator, editor, stylist and designer – Jayson’s 30 year career has covered them all.

‘I always illustrated as a child,’ says Jayson. ‘And when I went to fashion college it was what I excelled at which led me to it as a career in the mid 80s.’

After quickly realising that fashion illustration wasn’t going to pay the bills, he moved into styling and designing. This is where Jayson spent much of his career. His career highlights read like a fashion fanatic’s wish list – ‘shooting fashion on the Champs Élysées and attending the Paris collections in 1987, seeing a Mugler show with Jerry Hall and Iman, sitting next to Catherine Deneuve at a Gaultier show in the early 90s, styling INXS, Micheal Hutchence and Prince.’

Fashion is a family business. His first show with husband-to-be Aaron in New York is a happy memory. ‘Singing “New York New York” as we walked towards the tents in Bryant Park – it was pretty special.’ But after the birth of his son Roman in 2015, Jayson says he was inspired to go back to where it all started.

‘Discovering the infinite joy of fatherhood was beyond any fashion career moments. He inspired me to move back into fashion illustration because the workload of being a designer, at my age, was too difficult to enable me to devote my time to my son.’

The once dying art of fashion illustration is in now having a moment. ‘There’s a resurgence of hand crafted art,’ says Jayson of new appetite among shoppers for local designers.

‘There’s something magical about fashion illustration that separates it from photography. In this age, despite there being so many talented fashion photographers, everyone has a phone with a camera and photographic imagery is at saturation point. So the wonderful appeal of fashion illustration is that it’s unique and handcrafted.’

We asked Jayson to tell us a bit about his inspiration.

What was the inspiration for the illustrations at Eastland?
‘I was so inspired by the brief for the art installation at Eastland because the demographic of shoppers called for something happy, colourful and arresting. They wanted something that was social media savvy for visitors to take selfies with the art. And my style is joyous, vibrant and dramatic. I created interesting images that had a sense of humour – a girl with a leopard print stiletto on her head, a couple jumping in the air, a girl wearing an enormous pearl necklace winking, a girl with an Afro walking her poodle both wearing matching pink scarves. My signature style is about dramatic black line work and vibrant colour.

Who are your fashion icons?
Of course Audrey Hepburn! I wagged school when I was 13 to watch the midday movie “Funny Face“, which was about a beatnik plain girl discovered by a fashion photographer, whisked off to Paris modelling Givenchy and I was hooked ! She was so simple in her choices of style and so elegant, which is still relevant today because she put her beautiful personality ahead of her clothes. That’s always been inspiring for me. I think any woman that dresses with a sense of surprise and intrigue is so sexy and you really want to get to know her, have a conversation with her - that’s very important now.

What do you think of Melbourne as a fashion city?
Melbourne has a very sophisticated Eurocentric style that separates itself from the rest of Australia. Sydney is more Mediterranean, beachier and bohemian. New Yorkers are more trendy and casual now than Melbournians as I was recently in NYC. London is more eccentric.

I was in Chapel street recently for dinner and was simply amazed at the level of style of the people on the streets, dining, drinking in bars, having post-work fun –similar to Soho in London, but with an Italian edge. It’s very chic and it reminds very much of Milan.