Monday, 26 August 2013


Mats Gustafson is a illustrator and artist specialised in fashion. He is currently exhibiting at Millesgården just outside Stockholm on the island of Lidingö.  His career started in the late 70-ies by drawing ads for HM in the Swedish Daily News. Since then we have seen him working for fashion magazines, big fashion houses like Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Issey Miyake etc. HM has also been a big client. He moved to New York in the 80-ies and experienced how the Aids epidemic reduced the arty New York gay community. He shares his time living with jewelry designer partner in New York and a flat in the south part of central Stockholm.

Fashion, Figures and Faces is the name of the exhibition. A mix of portraits from of family, friends and fashion personalities, homosex studies and fashion drawings at its best! Mats is known for capturing the essence of fashion in a few lines. The person can be you. He says (in an interview shown at the exhibition) that he is the voyeur of fashion and not a collaborator. He started drawing womens clothes at a very early age and coming from an arty family it was not considered strange and he was encouraged. He studied at Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm to become a scenographer but the fashion drawing and illustrator career got in the way and he never worked with scenography.

Yves Saint Laurent in a nutshell.

It looks so simple! From suits to hats.

Portraits of famous fashion people. He is just genius in how he captures the personality in a few lines. To the left, model Linda Evangelista and far right the famous designer Sonia Rykiel.

More simplistic and excellent work from Mats.

Portraits. Mats is unusual these days for only using pencil, watercolours and shadows in his work.

More fashion using blocks of colours and cuttings.

Monochrome drawings.

Nudes, some made for the annual report of Proventus and some during the Aids epidemic in New York.

Nudes made for Proventus.

Male nudes.

The latest work from Mats Gustafson is from the latest collection of Dior 2013. It is amazing how he has managed to draw so simply the skirt with its different layers!

Skirt for Dior 2013.

The exhibition at Millesgården is spaciously hung with lots of room to view.

Bags and labels for HM. The exhibition is nicely put together but lacks some of Mats biography. Even though he has a low profile it is always interesting to know when and where he lived, studied and worked. I happened to have met him during his career. First in Paris in the late 70-ies when I was a young fashion assistant for a Swedish Fashion Magazine and we both were hanging outside the Pret a Porter Shows, hoping to be let in by the door men pitying us! I also met him and interviewed him during an other of his exhibitions in Malmö in the late 80-ies. In spite of having a low profile he loves a party!

Millesgården is situated on the north Island of Lidingö in Stockholm. Get there by tube to Ropsten and bus!

Millesgården with all the work of Carl Milles is open all year round. A wonderful and peaceful outdoor and indoor sculptor park well worth a visit. for opening hours and info.

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