Blair Breitenstein

Blair Breitenstein

Words: Adam Johnston
Photos: Emily Knecht

To be young in New York is an almost necessary thing. At a young age you don’t as much mind the subway station smells, the sticky sidewalks, the futon mattresses. You don’t need to sleep, you don’t need to eat, you don’t know you’re too old for this. Your heart and your eyes are almost big enough and open enough to take it all in. Native Californian and born again New Yorker Joan Didion wrote that “New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor....but also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city only for the very young.” The city feeds on them still.


After a couple fashion weeks and runway shows, 26-year-old Blair Breitenstein packed her brushes and paints and pencils and pens and left Seattle for the illustrated and Instagrammed life. And just like that, she’s everywhere: work for Saks and Prada, Coach and Carolina; in the Post and Times, Bazaar and Glamour; on beachwear and shopping bags, windows and catwalks. Her painted figures – bold, beautiful, bored, a little tragic – communicate something the pixel pushers and air brushers and art directors could not. A little bit Bratz doll, a little bit Mogdigliani, her fashion girls express an ideal. Let us aspire to the true and confident line, the right dash of color, the raw brush stroke of beauty.


When not working for brands Blair’s painting her heart out and smearing it on canvas: lush red lips, cobalt eyeshadow dabs, bold brows. She really just loves “to draw and paint and flip through magazines and books and post on Instagram.” It’s where she gets most of her work. We feed on it still.

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See more of Blair's pretty young things on
her site and @blairz.