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Guide to the Michaele Vollbracht fashion illustrations, circa 1972-1986

Collection Overview

Repository

Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier

KA.0043

Creator - Illustrator

Vollbracht, Michael, 1947-

Title

Michaele Vollbracht fashion illustrations, circa 1972-1986

Extent

16.2 linear ft: 6 oversize boxes, 2 oversize folders

Summary

Fashion illustrator Michaele Vollbracht (1947- ) graduated from Parsons in 1968, and has since returned periodically as a visiting critic. After working as a design assistant for Geoffrey Beene, Donald Brooks, and Norman Norell, Vollbracht turned to fashion illustration and portraiture. In 1985 Vollbracht published Nothing Sacred, an illustrated memoir, and in 2000 Parsons mounted an exhibition of his work to celebrate the release of the updated version of the book. The bulk of the collection is comprised of fashion illustrations and designer portraits Vollbracht created for a 1972 fashion show celebrating Parsons School of Design's 75th anniversary and the establishment of the school's Gimbel Library. Also includes a sketch of Vollbracht's iconic Bloomingdale's shopping bag of 1975.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Michaele Vollbracht fashion illustrations, KA.0043, box __, folder __, New School Archives, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical note

American designer and illustrator Michael Vollbracht (a.k.a. Michaele Vollbracht) was born in Quincy, Illinois in 1947. After graduating in 1968 from Parsons School of Design (now Parsons The New School for Design), where he earned the school’s Golden Thimble Award, Vollbracht worked as an assistant to Geoffrey Beene until 1969. Vollbracht designed for Donald Brooks (1969-1971) and Norman Norell (1971-1972) before shifting his attention to fashion illustration and graphic design.

Vollbracht became an illustrator for Henri Bendel. In 1975, Bloomingdale’s commissioned him to create a shopping bag. The result was a unique design that garnered the artist considerable recognition. Neither the department store’s name nor any other type of advertisement were included -- only the stylized portrait of a woman and the artist’s signature appeared on the bag. Vollbracht went on to form a successful fashion company, Vollbracht Design Studies, in 1977. His colorful, uniquely patterned designs appealed to both celebrities and the general public, earning him the Coty American Fashion Critics Award in 1980. The mid-1980s saw Vollbracht with three ready-to-wear clothing lines along with multiple manufacturing contracts for a wide variety of products.

At the pinnacle of his success, Vollbracht retired from the fashion industry to focus on illustrating. His work has been featured in Vogue,  The New Yorker and in his illustrated memoir,  Nothing Sacred (1985). In 1999, Vollbracht collaborated with Bill Blass to co-write the biography  Bill Blass: An American Designer and to curate a retrospective of Blass’ work at the University of Indiana. After Blass died in 2002, Vollbracht returned to fashion design, becoming the creative director of the late designer’s successful clothing line until 2007, when he once again returned to a full-time career as an artist.

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Scope and Contents of Collection

The bulk of the collection consists of mixed media fashion illustrations and portraits of 20th century American fashion designers created by Michaele Vollbracht.

The first series includes fashion illustrations possibly inspired by magazine photographs or illustrations. The drawings are rendered in a palette of black, white, and red. Some drawings feature explanatory notes identifying magazine publication dates and the apparel depicted, but no evidence of when Vollbracht created them.

The second series consists of illustrations published in a program designed by Cipe Pineles Burtin for a student and alumni fashion show marking the 75th anniversary of Parsons School of Design and the establishment of the school's Gimbel Library in 1972. The series is comprised of portraits of American fashion designers and an illustration depicting a costume by each designer.

The third series consists of posters designed by Vollbracht depicting Hollywood film stars Gary Cooper and Marilyn Monroe, and Bloomingdale's publicity materials designed by Vollbracht, including his iconic shopping bag, a clipping of an advertisement, and a drawing.

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Arrangement note

Organized in 3 series:

  1. Fashion illustrations, circa 1972
  2. Illustrations for catalog, circa 1972
  3. Posters and Bloomingdale's publicity materials, 1976-1986

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - October 5, 2010

66 5th Ave./
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011
212.229.5942
archivist@newschool.edu

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Michaele Vollbracht fashion illustrations, KA.0043, box __, folder __, New School Archives, The New School, New York, New York.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Materials in Series III. donated by Michaele Vollbracht, 2000.

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Related Materials

Additional records pertaining to the 1972 student and alumni fashion show will be found in the New School Archives' Parsons School of Design Fashion Design Department records (pre-2008 accessions) (PC.02.02.01), as well as samples of Michaele Vollbracht's student work created while attending Parsons. The fashion show program designed by Cipe Pineles Burtin will be found in the New School Archives' Parsons School of Design Adam and Sophie Gimbel Design Library records (pre-2011 accessions) (PC.08.01.01). Additional illustration work by Vollbracht for a Norman Norell retrospective will be found in the Exhibitions and public programs collection (NS.05.03.01).

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bloomingdale’s (Firm).
  • Parsons School of Design.

Genre(s)

  • Fashion illustrations (layout features).
  • Posters.

Occupation(s)

  • Fashion illustrators.

Subject(s)

  • Fashion designers -- United States -- 20th century -- Pictorial works.
  • Fashion drawing.
  • Women's clothing -- United States -- 20th century -- Pictorial works.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Series I. Fashion illustrations circa 1972-1986 

k_OSxxx-8 5
OSxxx-2 10-11
OSxxx-3 9-10
OSxxx-1 1-7

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Series II. Illustrations for fashion program circa 1972 

Box Folder

Designer portraits 

Box Folder
Unidentified designers 
OSxxx-2 1
Adri 
OSxxx-2 2
Adrian, Gilbert 
OSxxx-2 2
Amey, Ronald 
OSxxx-2 4
Booher, Jeannene 
OSxxx-2 5
Brigance, Tom 
OSxxx-2 2
Brooks, Donald 
OSxxx-2 2
Capraro, Albert 
OSxxx-2 3
Copeland, Jo 
OSxxx-2 3
Ebker, Nancy 
OSxxx-2 6
Johnson, Bosha 
OSxxx-2 7
Justin, Jane 
OSxxx-2 3
Kasper, Herbert 
OSxxx-2 3
Larson, Barbara [not in catalog] 
OSxxx-3 1
McCardell, Claire 
OSxxx-3 1
Moore, John 
OSxxx-3 1
Morgan, Donna 
OSxxx-2 8
Norell, Norman 
OSxxx-3 2
Paschalides, Kathy 
OSxxx-2 9
Ribando, Peter 
OSxxx-3 4
Rompollo, Dominic 
OSxxx-3 2
Simonelli, Donald 
OSxxx-3 2
Smith, Bill 
OSxxx-3 3
Smith, Willi 
OSxxx-3 5
Story, Jennifer 
OSxxx-3 6
Tiel, Vicky 
OSxxx-3 7
Unger, Kay 
OSxxx-3 8
Weinberg, Chester 
OSxxx-3 3

Fashion illustrations 

Box Folder
Adri 
OSxxx-4 2
Adrian, Gilbert 
OSxxx-4 2
Banton, Travis 
OSxxx-4 3
Booher, Jeannene 
OSxxx-4 3
Brigance, Tom [different illustration in catalog] 
OSxxx-4 4
Brooks, Donald 
OSxxx-4 4
Capraro, Albert 
OSxxx-5 1
Copeland, Jo 
OSxxx-5 1
Ebker, Nancy 
OSxxx-5 2
Elias, Erika 
OSxxx-5 2
Johnson, Bosha 
OSxxx-5 3
Justin, Jane 
OSxxx-5 3
Kasper, Herbert 
OSxxx-5 4
Larson, Barbara [not in catalog] 
OSxxx-4 1
McCardell, Claire 
OSxxx-5 5
Moore, John 
OSxxx-5 5
Morgan, Donna 
OSxxx-5 6
Norell, Norman 
k_OSxxx-8 4
Paschalides, Kathy 
OSxxx-5 6
Ribando, Peter 
OSxxx-6 1
Rizzo, Frank 
OSxxx-6 1
Rompollo, Dominic 
OSxxx-6 2
Scott, Ken 
OSxxx-6 2
Sharaff, Irene 
OSxxx-6 3
Simonelli, Donald 
OSxxx-6 3
Smith, Bill 
OSxxx-6 4
Smith, Willi 
OSxxx-6 4
Story, Jennifer 
OSxxx-6 5
Tiel, Vicky 
OSxxx-6 5
Unger, Kay 
OSxxx-6 6
Weinberg, Chester 
OSxxx-6 6
Williams, Arthur 
OSxxx-4 1

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Series III. Posters and Bloomingdale's publicity materials 1976-1986 

Box Folder
Bloomingdale's, circa 1976 
k_OSxx-2 5
Posters, circa 1985-1986 
C 1 4

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Collection Guide Last Updated: 10/25/2016

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