Russell Patterson (1896–1977) was very influential as an illustrator (in the ‘twenties his flappers were as definitive as those of John Held Junior).
He studied architecture briefly at McGill University in Canada and later at the Chicago Art Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts. His early work for department stores like Carson, Pirie, Scott & Company and Marshall Field was noted for his interior designs.
A year of painting landscapes in France followed. When he returned to America in 1921 the Jazz Age was just beginning. Patterson began to draw sexy coeds and they were an immediate success when they appeared in College Humor. With his incorporation of their raccoon coats and flapping, unbuckled galoshes in his drawings, Patterson became a pacemaker in setting styles. He had a special flair for clothes, and his drawings were followed for what was right to wear.
Patterson spent the 1930s in Hollywood doing set and costume design for the movies, mostly elaborate musicals similar to his Broadway shows. In the late ’thirties, he returned to New York to the department store field. He designed coate for I. J. Fox, Christmas toy windows for Macy’s and resumed his advertising illustrations.
During World War II he designed the Women’s Army Corps uniforms, train interior, he drew a comic strip and also designed hotel lobbies and restaurant interiorsis advertising illustrations. During World War II he designed the Women’s Army Corps uniforms, train interior, he drew a comic strip and also designed hotel lobbies and restaurant interiors.