If fashion illustrators are having a moment, Donald Robertson is the man of the hour. The Canadian-born New Yorker is a creative director at Estée Lauder by day, but the 146,000 people who follow him on Instagram are far more familiar with the fashion-inspired artwork he creates at home. The industry, too, has taken note: In less than two years, he has racked up collaborations with J.Crew, Bergdorf Goodman, Alice + Olivia, Colette, Smashbox Cosmetics, Brian Atwood, Story and more.
Robertson has now taken his artistry to the world of publishing with his first book, “Mitford at the Fashion Zoo.” Mitford, a gangly giraffe turned fashion industry darling, is a recurring character in Robertson’s Instagram posts. He first drew Mitford – who is an avatar of sorts in his signature black frames – as Anna Wintour’s intern. The leggy giraffe was an immediate hit with his followers. Shortly thereafter, he partnered with Viking Press to bring Mitford and a cast of fashion world fauna — Zap Possum, Shark Jakobs, Mikael Boars — to book form. His wife Kimberly Gieske wrote the story and Robertson illustrated it.
“Mitford at the Fashion Zoo” will go on sale on Aug. 10. In celebration of its release, Robertson will roll out over 25 Mitford-themed items in collaboration with brands like Warby Parker, Rolex and J. Crew at Story the same day. We spoke with Donald Robertson about the connection between the fashion industry and wildlife.