Fashion Cartoons: Pretty Funny Stuff!

“LOL” Laughing Out Loud

What better way to end the year, and usher in the new one, than with levity, a wink, and a smile? Fashion may be serious big business, and it’s not always a laughing matter, but its innate artificiality; outrageous, almost indecent superficiality; AND the naturally exaggerated, oft times cartoonish qualities that have become signature trademarks of many of its biggest players (who have become caricatures of themselves), make it inherently funny, perfect fodder for parody, and the ultimate subject matter for cartoons.

Tina Brown telling her staff about launching Talk Magazine. 
Jim Hunt & circa 2000

The has been featuring cartoons since its inception, lampooning a number of well-known fashion industry leaders, celebrities, organizations and feature editors. (The cartoons were penned by Jim Hunt or Peter Paul Porges and inspired by Ernest Schmatolla, publisher of Some of our past subjects included Tina Brown, Anna Wintour, Fern Mallis, Cathy Horyn, Cher, and Donald Trump.

Mercedes Benz taking over as sponsor of 7th on Sixth shows
Jim Hunt & Lookonline circa 2002

Here are some other links to some of our favorite cartoons:   “Cathy Horyn Accepting Award”,  2002 ; “The Blonde Stops Here”, 1999; “How She Stopped Worrying and Loved the Bomb”; “Cher Accepting her CFDA Award”, 1999; and “Loose Talk Sinks Ships“. FYI, the most widely read cartoon, “Startups Are Not For Kids”, was the take on Tina Brown’s much talked about 1999 Talk Magazine launch. In fact, Tina liked it so much, her office called Ernest Schmatolla, asking him if she could buy the cartoon. He told them, “Tina can’t buy everything!”.LOL

Marisa Acocella’s “Fendi Bag Lady”

Of course, almost nobody captures the absurd frivolity of it all, quite like The New Yorker, whose clever cartoons are in my opinion, one of the best reasons to pick it up each month. Among Marisa Acocella’s fashion themed cartoons that have tickled my funny bone, and never fail to make me smile: her take on Occupy Wall Street, (the caption reads, “I’m starting my own movement: Occupy 57th Street” and there’s a sketch of two well dressed women traversing the famed luxury shopping mecca); “Who Isn’t Broke?” asks one dressed-to-the- nines woman to another, both of whom are toting ‘ginormous’ bulging shopping bags from Celine, Gucci, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada, etc.; and the hysterically outrageous “Fendi Bag Lady” depicting a chic shoeless Fendi fur and bag clad woman, standing in beggar’s pose, on what looks like a cut opened Fendi shopping bag. She is holding up a sign that reads, “Need matching shoes. Please help.”

I also love Mick Stevens’ “We’re From Manhattan” featuring two black clad angels first entering heaven, explaining their unusual choice of color to heaven’s gatekeeper. Another that always makes me smile, just because…(source and creator unknown), shows one female alligator talking to another, (‘she’ is carrying an alligator purse), and the caption reads, “Nice Bag!” “Thanks, it’s my ex-husband.”

The Fashion Cartoons Blog

Then there’s The Fashion Cartoons Blog ‘When They Were Kids….’, which reimagines what the big names in fashion (designers, editors, photographers, etc.) would have been like as little kids. Its creator only goes by the name Fashion Cartoonist and prefers to remain anonymous “because it’s more fun that way” he/she told Derek Blasberg, a Vogue and V Magazine contributor who did a little profile on his blog this past June ( I contacted the mystery illustrator, and he/she agreed to answer some questions, but alas, he/she has been traveling and not readily accessible, and was unable to get back to me in time.

The Fashion Cartoons Blog

What I do know that that he/she “purposely distorts and exaggerates” the imagined behaviors, (“but in some cases I have a feeling I may not be too far from the truth”); has a “day job” in the fashion industry (hence the constant inspiration); always carries around a sketching pad to quickly jot down ideas; and is obviously plugged in, knowledgeable, and has a fashion insider’s perspective. And while it started out as a hobby, it’s been garnering much attention, “who knows where it will lead?” is what he/she has said. A possible book? (He/she observed that a book signing might be the perfect reason to finally come out of ‘hiding’). Among his/her subjects: Anna (who is always depicted wearing her sunglasses), Andre, Miuccia, Hamish, Kate, Nicolas, Marc, Ralph, Jil, Linda, Giorgio, John, Roberto, Tavi (the very young blogger is not far from the cradle herself LOL), all of whom are identified by their first names (you know you’ve made it in fashion, when you are instantly recognizable by your first name, and a quick sketch).

The Fashion Cartoons Blog

The blog is constantly updated to make it current and in December, he/she added a cartoon showing little Bruce Weber sitting on Santa’s lap (both are wearing identical printed cotton bandanas on their heads). A recent cartoon shows tiny Rei Kawakubo, with a reference to her new Dover Street Market. But perhaps the most outrageously loony one as of late, depicts a polka dot clad little George Clooney with polka dot obsessed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (it’s an hysterical riff on the sublimely ridiculous December cover of W). And because the circus that is fashion week (or month) is soon upon us, the cartoon of street photographers Tommy (Ton), Garance (Dore), and Scott (Schuman) with Suzy Menkes (she is telling them: “I don’t wanna play with peacocks”), struck me as especially funny and timely.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

  1. Excellent post, I just passed this into a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that.

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