By Megan McDonald December 12, 2011

Bil Donovan :: Self Portrait

Fashion illustrator, author and educator BIL DONOVAN has lengthened his long and illustrious résumé with the distinct honor of being the first and only artist-in-residence for the iconic house of Dior. He also serves as brand ambassador for Christian Dior Beauty. Which is where I come into the sketch: After a makeover with a Dior artist, I had the privilege of sitting for a portrait by Bil Donovan at Saks Fifth Avenue, by invitation of Beth Bobb and Sally Schule.

Heather Dunhill Portrait  :: By Bil Donovan. I truly love the vintage ‘70s look he gave me…

When asked if he possessed the natural ability of an illustrator all his life, Donovan replied with an emphatic “no.”  He had to work at it. Especially after a Fashion Institute of Technology professor discouraged him from pursuing the art, telling him he did not have the talent. 

Even with such a stinging rejection, Donovan was unafraid to push forward. “I had to defend my passion,” he said with ardent emotion. “I told her this is my dream--to which she responded that I would then need to work harder than anyone else.  And I did.”  


Fast forward to success: Now a nimble-handed craftsman, Donovan’s illustrations have since been seen in publications around the globe, from editorials to advertising campaigns. And he’s been commissioned by the most notable names both within and outside the fashion industry. Take the recent opening of the 1700-square-foot Dior Suite at the St. Regis New York, where his works don the signature Dior-gray walls. What’s more, it was purely coincidental that the St. Regis commissioned him for a Dior project…

“Style is an enchanting yet elusive creature. A subtle glance over a shoulder, the fluid sweep of an evening gown, or the arch of a perfectly shaped eyebrow framing sensual red lips…these are the fleeting moments that hold me spellbound.”  ::  Bil Donovan

Other fabulous works by the talented (and likeable!) BIL DONOVAN:

Dior Gown :: By Bil Donovan

Maternity Red Chic :: By Bil Donovan

Times Square :: By Bil Donovan

A must-have volume for students of illustration :: Donovan imparts lessons learned from his years of diligent study with instructors and masters.

Quick spin back to my makeover, I want to share to a few stand out Dior products:

Dior AirFlash Spray Foundation :: Formulated with mother-of-pearl, this foundation diffuses light, which works in our favor, for an airbrushed effect. And it can also be used as a concealer.  But before taking this product home, I do recommend scheduling with a Dior artist to assist on your first application.

Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen  ::  It says something that Skinflash is always used on the Dior runway models. Start your day with the booster pen for an illuminating look under eye.  And it’s the perfect time of year to keep one in your clutch, especially when rushing from day-to-night events. Use it for touch-ups or just a little lift for end-of-the-day-did-I-really-say-yes-to-one-more-event eyes.

Dior Instant Cleansing Water with Pure Lily Extract  ::   I am loving this product!  As the Cleansing Water name suggests, no water needed. Such a pleasing fresh scent, it leaves the skin clean without feeling stripped. The best part is that it’s a welcome, easy cleansing routine for morning.

5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette No. 708  ::  Rich colors that I’ll easily reach for on a night out but that also work surprisingly well for a light day look.  And I’m obsessed with the gel liner in the bottom right corner, which is black with a greenish tint and goes on simply, with a soft edge.

By the way, while we’re having a Dior moment, have you heard about the recent launch of Dior Couture by Patrick Demarchelier

And finally, here, Cathy Horyn of the New York Times interviews Patrick about the Dior compendium.

For more fashion news and notes, follow Heather Dunhill on Twitter @heatherDUNHILL.

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