What Happened When 3 Front Row Fashion Showgoers Decided To NOT Use Their Phones

It’s not an uncommon thing to hear those who occupy the front row at Fashion Week complaining about all the stuff they have to do during a show — tweet, Instagram, Boomerang, Snap, and Hyperlapse. It’s no wonder that during the final walk, usually accompanied by wild clapping from the audience, that there’s mostly dead silence, and a lot of held up iPhones. But this kind of social media stakeout hasn’t always been the norm — even a few years ago, it was rare to see a phone in the front row. Those who were committed to documenting the fashion without a professional camera had to do so with a pen and paper.

A few front row illustrators decided to buck the system in terms of documentation. With iPad Pros and Apple Pencils, they’ve sketched their favorite looks in real-time. Click through to see the exclusive images they’ve shared with us, and how it felt to be taking it old school (with forward-looking tech), while their seatmates were stressing out about toggling between apps.

Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
Janelle Sing @JanelleSing

Novis
"I love Novis' color palette and bold patterns — Jordana Warmflash really nailed it this season! When I learned that the inspiration for the collection was Ellsworth Kelly, it all made sense. I wanted to recreate the pink glow of the room, while paying homage to the Ellsworth Kelly-esque shapes from the clothing. I used Paper by 53 to mix Novis' bright color palette. I chose the Draw Tool, which acts like a fountain pen, for most of the strokes. The Marker Tool is also a favorite. It has transparency built in so it allows you to layer up in subtle ways."
Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
Janelle Sing @JanelleSing

Timo Weiland
"Timo Weiland's oversize plaid jacket and wide-leg gray pants was my favorite look from this collection. I can imagine wrapping myself in those clothes on a cold winter's day and feeling totally chic. I used the Nikko Rull brush on Procreate to draw the pattern of the plaid, and relied on Apple Pencil to give me the variation of line weight by alternating between the tip and sides of the stylus."
Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
Janelle Sing @JanelleSing

Todd Snyder
"In this sketch, I wanted to highlight the entire production of a runway show — from the guests, the photographers, the venue, and of course, the models. So much goes into these shows, it's really not just about the clothing! I used the 6B pencil in Procreate to quickly jot down all the lines in black. Then, I added another layer underneath it and filled in large blocks of color using the Crayon tool."
Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
Holly Nichols @hnicholsillustration

Marchesa
"I sketch with Procreate. My favorite feature of Procreate is that the sketch process is identical to what it is when I use my markers. I can sketch one pencil layer of the figure, then color over it with the Brush Pen and the Acrylic Brush for a painterly effect in the skirt. I loved the entire Marchesa collection, but was attracted to this look specifically because it’s very romantic and feminine, but also a bit gothic. I love the exaggerated 3D floral embellishments next to the detailed black lace."
Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
John Jannuzzi @johnjannuzzi

A.P.C.
"It would take a French person to make something like this look good. I used Paper by FiftyThree, it's really the only one I ever trust — a friend of mine turned me on to it a few years ago. Of course, it's not exactly like paper and pencil, but it's the closest thing I've been able to find thus far. There are plenty of different brush options to cycle through, too, but I stick with the pencil for the most part — it's the most similar feeling to how I learned to draw and sketch."
Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
John Jannuzzi @johnjannuzzi

Prabal Gurung

"Prabal's got a knack for making something better through subtleties— cutouts, beading, super-high slits, that kind of thing."
Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
John Jannuzzi @johnjannuzzi

Oscar de la Renta
"Even without its founder, it seems like Oscar de la Renta is being well looked after by Peter Copping. Always hits the right note."