Joe Eula was an American fashion illustrator, costume designer, stage director, and tastemaker. Eula’s accomplishments are nothing short of are awe-inspiring.
Born in 1925, Connecticut. He graduated from high school in 1942 at the onset of World War II. Eula enlisted in the American Light Infantry, serving in the Italian Campaign. He fought in the Apennines Mountains and was awarded the Bronze Star. In 1945, after the war had ended, he enrolled at Art Students League of New York.
While still a student, Eula’s first published illustration was in Town & Country magazine. Additionally, he produced drawings for the department store Saks Fifth Avenue. Following his graduation in the late 1940s, he began his career at the esteem New York Herald Tribune. He covered fashion and social events with the writer, Eugenia Sheppard. I wonder if at this point Eula had any idea about the profusely productive journey he was embarking on.
After the Herald Tribune Eula moved to London to work for the fashion column of The Sunday Times. At the same time, Eula was producing posters for Broadway shows, including Miles Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and Diana Vreeland.
1970 saw Eula become the creative director at Halston, the groundbreaking and influence label set up by Roy Halston Frowick. Eula held the position for ten years, helping to define the company’s brand. In 1971, He assisted fashion journalist, Diana Vreeland, organise exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. He was illustrating for American Vogue, when in 1979 he signed an exclusive contract with Italian and French Harper’s Bazaar. He had the distinct honour of covering Yves Saint Laurent’s first (1958) and last (2002) collections.
Eula illustrated for several designers including Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Gianni Versace, Christian Dior and Karl Lagerfeld. By the 1980s, he had settled in Hudson Valley. There he designed a line of china for Tiffany, which the store continues to sell. In August 2004, he drew his last published illustrations, a series of fall coats for The New York Times, three months before his death.
In 2014, HarperCollins published the first collection of Eula’s work. Joe Eula: Master of Twentieth-Century Fashion Illustration features over 200 sketches and illustrations spanning his entire career. It is the best place to really dive into Eula’s iconic work.