10 Minutes With…Izak Zenou

Izak1Probably best known for his Bendel’s Girls, Izak, one of fashion’s most prolific illustrators promotes his own line of accessories with his new website www.shopizak.com. Accessories chatted with the artist about his inspirations.

DSC01491How did you get started as a fashion illustrator?

I started creating fashion illustrations at the age of 17. At the time I was inspired by having attended my first fashion show in the late 80′s—the designer, “le createur,” was France Andrevie, and it was just mesmerizing—a real spectacle, with a real choreography and great soundtrack! I remember going home and drawing like crazy.

How did you get inspired to draw girls shopping?

And what about girls with dogs? I like to draw girls in every situation in life. It’s about celebrating women! And, what about guys? I draw guys too!

Girls on the runway iPad case

Girls on the runway iPad case

When/why did you decide to develop your artwork into your own brand?

I was asked for so many years by people who appreciate my work to start a line and create products. I was approached three years ago to start a fashion accessories licensing program. I was a bit skeptical about it, as I wanted to keep my integrity as an artist, create something uniquely mine, as well as the products that showcase the artwork—a challenging, and complex task, but in the end exhilarating.

How long have you been working with Henri Bendel?

More than a decade, which is quite exceptional. I’m very fortunate and grateful. What I love most is the challenge of creating new fresh work continuously, as well as inspiring both them and their customer. Because of the years we’ve been together, I have an intrinsic sense of who their girls are and my task is to capture that spirit in my illustrations.

Do the Bendel’s Girls epitomize your work?

Actually, the “Bendel’s Girls” I have created for them are truly different from most of my other work. My task is to create a unique vision for each of my clients like Chanel and Lancôme, and especially the illustrations that I’m doing for my own line.

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Neon canvas cosmetic case

Both. I’m always inspired by someone or something, but what I try to express in my work most of all is the emotion. I am actually much more interested by the inside beauty, something universal and familiar with depth. I hope people can see that. The girls I draw are often happy! Being happy is a very deep and powerful state!

Who are your muses?

I do confess to some secret muses. Obviously Audrey Hepburn, but also I adore the spirit of Ines de la Fressange, Audrey Tautou, Maria Callas, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Natalie Portman and Kate Moss.

What is the full range of your accessories merchandise?

The primary range includes canvas totes, bags, wallets and make-up pouches, as well are a range of tech products. The line I created is primarily focused around canvas, and the use the canvas in an exciting modern way. It’s practical to use, its fun and it works well with the art.

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Lauren Parker, Editor, Accessories Magazine

As Editor of Accessories Magazine for the past 12 years, Lauren Parker has covered accessories both from a retail business perspective and a fashion point of view. In previous full-time magazine jobs and freelance gigs, she’s written about practically every angle of fashion lifestyle living, including accessories, fine jewelry, Caribbean travel, private jets, Hampton’s real estate, the New York art scene, the bridal industry, men’s lifestyle and being a mom. She loves meeting designers and seeing how their latest offerings capture the current zeitgeist and fit into the entire cultural and social picture.

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