RALPH LAUREN FORMER CREATIVE DIRECTOR VP OF WOMEN'S COLLECTION
Artist, designer, and illustrator Audrey Schilt has worked in the fashion industry for more than 30 years, sketching and designing for some of the most revered names in fashion history. After receiving her degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City, Schilt got her introduction to the fashion-design world working as Halston's sketch artist as he was just beginning his ascent to fame.
Working for two and a half years aside this fashion icon, Schilt developed a foundation for her future career in design and was introduced to a host of influential people, including Diana Vreeland, Salvador Dali, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. At the young age of 22, the designer sketched for Halston several of the stylish hats for which Kennedy Onassis became known, including her now-famous pillbox hat. Schilt's sketch of that iconic accessory was featured in the book Jackie Style, and additional hat sketches done for the former First Lady were sold - along with the hats themselves - through Sotheby's auction.
After sketching Halston's first women's collection line, Schilt moved into freelance work as she began to raise a family. During this time the artist did mostly illustrative assignments, creating fashion ads for such marquis clients as The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Bergdorf Goodman. Schilt also returned to school to learn pattern making and draping, as she was feeling more drawn to the innovation of design than she was to the creative confines of illustration. After working as a designer for Jacque Bellini for five years, as well as working on a children's line of clothing, Schilt was considered for the highly coveted role of conceptual artist at Ralph Lauren. When Lauren saw the strength of her sketches, as well as her innate sense of design, he offered her the job.
Schilt worked side by side with Lauren for the next 22 years as he built his fashion empire, helping him to interpret and illustrate his creative ideas and eventually becoming his Creative Director of Collection, VP. Highlights from her tenure at the label include collaborating with Lauren on the now-famous pink silk gown Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the 1998 Academy Awards - which ended up being the sixth most popular dress in the history of the award show - designing Emmy Rossum's white silk and organza dress she wore to the 2005 Golden Globes - which was voted the No.1 dress of the Golden globes that year - and sketching dresses for Princess Diana, Oprah, Julia Roberts, Julianne Moore, and numerous other celebrities. Other achievements include having her sketch chosen as the cover image for the book Lauren published in 2006 titled Diary of a Collection, having several of her fashion drawings featured in Lauren's 40th anniversary book Ralph Lauren, and having her sketches featured as part of the window displays of one of Japan's largest department stores.
Now retired from her position at Ralph Lauren, Schilt is turning her attention to other artistic endeavors, as she continues to be available as a designer on a consultation basis. Her versatility as a designer has given her experience in everything from men's and women's collections to accessories and children's wear, and her strength as a fine artist allows her to excel in multiple media and genres, including watercolors, portraiture, and illustrative line drawings. In addition, the artist's fashion sketches were recently featured in an American Artist Drawing article titled "The Fine Art of Fashion Design." With an impressive career behind her, Schilt is looking toward the future as a place for a fresh start. "There's something still inside of me, so much I still want to create," the artist says. "This is just the beginning."