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Carol Loebelsohn fashion illustrations

Identifier: KA-0148-01


The Carol Loebelsohn fashion illustrations represent a sampling of the professional and teaching work of Parsons School of Design alumna and faculty member Carol Loebelsohn. The bulk of the over 150 illustrations covers the 1960s into the 1990s, and includes a variety of media and drawing techniques.


  • 1947 - 1994



3.2 Cubic Feet (2 oversize boxes, 5 oversize folders, 5 small folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists primarily of undated fashion illustrations executed by Carol Loebelsohn in a variety of media, including ink wash, marker, pastel, pencil, and watercolor. One folder contains illustrations with attached Polaroid photographs of models in a studio. Another folder contains illustrations with color separations, revealing a bygone print production process. Although the majority of illustrations document women's fashion, one folder depicts menswear and sketches of what appear to be male models. A small number of clippings and tearsheets documenting published illustrations are also present.

In addition to illustrations created for clients, files also document Carol Loebelsohn's teaching activities. This includes visual aids identifying different elements of women's clothing, body charts, and examples of fashion photographs torn from magazines with accompanying sketches of the models' faces. Loebelsohn taught fashion illustration in Parsons School of Design's Continuing Education Division beginning in 1988, and these materials align with course descriptions for her class (she last appears as a faculty member in the 1996-1997 academic catalog). One small folder contains reproductions of her work from a high school art competition, accompanied by an entry form.

While most of the illustrations are not identified by client or dated, based on hairstyles, cosmetics, and fashions depicted in the illustrations, they appear to predominantly date from the 1960s through the 1980s. One illustration dated 1994 may be the latest illustration in the collection. Of note is the inclusion of illustrations depicting models of color in much higher proportions than any other fashion illustration collection in The New School Archives' holdings.

The collection represents a sample of Loebelsohn's existing body of work, chosen by archivists during an on-site selection. Criteria for selection consisted of whether drawings evince a range of media and drawing techniques, different eras (using depicted clothing and hair styles as a basis in the absence of inscribed dates), varying dimensions, different models, and multiple drawings from a single sitting to document artistic practice rather than solely finished drawings. The archivists retained all examples of drawings with attached Polaroids, as this is a professional practice not yet documented in The New School Archives' fashion illustration collections. Additionally, all drawings on colored paper, drawings using color media rather than just black media, drawings with client identified, and any drawing that was deemed "special" or out of the ordinary.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from The New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical Note

The following biographical note was supplied by Alise Loebelsohn and Lori Loebelsohn:

Carol Loebelsohn (1929-2002)

Carol Loebelsohn (née Naroff) was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 25, 1929. Her parents divorced when she was eleven. She helped to raise her younger sister in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, while her mother worked as a seamstress. From an early age, Carol loved to create things like paper dolls dressed in beautiful outfits. Although her family struggled financially, her mother shared with her a love of beauty and high fashion. Throughout her life, Carol was passionate about both fashion and art.

Carol studied at Washington Irving High School in New York City, where she excelled in fashion illustration. In 1949, she received a full scholarship to attend Parsons School of Design and graduated with an Associates Degree. In 1950, she attended Pratt Institute and from 1952-1954, she attended the Art Students League in New York City. She had a life-long love of learning, and continued to take classes at art schools throughout her life.

Carol began her career as a staff artist for Porters Department Store, Milgram’s and other fashion houses. She primarily created illustrations of high fashion for women, but she also illustrated men’s and children’s fashion for other magazines. As she became more successful, she did freelance work for large, prestigious department stores, including Bergdorf Goodmans, Bonwit Teller and Macy’s. Her beautiful fashion illustrations were shown in the New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Magazine and numerous other high-end fashion magazines.

In addition to creating beautiful fashion illustrations for her clients, Carol had a long career teaching fashion illustration. She was a vivacious, charismatic woman whose presence lit up the room. She immediately connected with her students and went above and beyond to help them personally and professionally and in return, they loved learning from her. For many years, she taught fashion illustration and draping as an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design. She also headed for many years the fashion illustration department at Traphaghen School of Design in New York City, and was an adjunct professor at Newark School for Industrial and Fine Art.

In 1960, Carol gave birth to twin girls, Lori and Alise. Carol exposed them to to art, high fashion and her love of beauty from a young age. Carol’s wonderful example strongly influenced her daughters, who are both professional visual artists.

The introduction of fashion photography had a devastating affect on the world of fashion illustration. The glamour and suggestion of high fashion illustration were replaced by a literal image of the garment. Although she continued to create illustrations for a handful of loyal clients, Carol would never stop creating art. In the 1980’s, in her 50’s, Carol discovered watercolor. She painted grand watercolor florals, still lifes, landscapes, and portraits. Her line quality and finesse with the brush enabled her to transition easily from the world of fashion illustration into the world of fine art. She was a member of the American Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society. She exhibited her work often and won numerous prizes.

Carol was extremely meticulous about preserving her fashion illustrations and other artwork. When she passed away in 2002, her daughters continued to protect this treasure trove from a bygone era. Her fashion illustrations serve as a reminder of the changing styles in the days of high fashion from the 1930’s to the 1980’s. Her daughters are very pleased and excited to leave this legacy to Parsons, a school that she loved, where she studied and where she taught, so that future generations can both learn from and appreciate her beautiful art.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Alise Loebelsohn and Lori Loebelsohn, Carol Loebelsohn's daughters, donated the collection to The New School Archives in 2019. The collection was housed in Lori Loebelsohn's home prior to transfer to The New School Archives.

Related Materials

One fashion illustration by Carol Loebelsohn will be found in the Parsons School of Design Fashion Design Department records (PC.02.02.01) Faculty work series.

Processing Information

All folder titles supplied during processing, with the exception of the folder titled, "Parsons."

Guide to the Carol Loebelsohn fashion illustrations
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
October 2, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description