Trendsetters: Fashion Illustrator Caitlin Dinkins

Caitlin Dinkins Illustrations

"Sightseeing" by Caitlin Dinkins

Confession: I once wrote an advertorial for Fila, Japan, that ended with: “It’s not how you look, it’s how you Fila.” Ouch. I know. But it was a very l-o-n-g- time ago. Why am I telling you this? Because every time I think of cosmetics brand Stila (which, in case you didn’t notice rhymes with Fila) I think of two things: That unfortunate ad copy I once wrote for the other brand and the adorable, iconic fashion maven on the Stila ads and packaging who helped give the

Stila Cosmetics

Stila Girl 2011

brand that extra does of moxie that resonated with hip chicks around the globe in need of perfectly packaged lip gloss.

The woman who shaped that sassy Stila girl into the instantly recognizable 2-D brand ambassador she is today is L.A. based illustrator/designer Caitlin Dinkins, who spent 11 years as the brand’s illustrator and creative director for a year. She left Stila nearly three years ago to take on new projects for Gymboree, Legally Blonde and others, is currently working on a new line of products, has completely revamped her portfolio and even managed to take on decorating projects such as a gem of a remodel of the family’s Ojai artist

Agave House

Agave House

retreat that this Fashion Trends Daily editor can’t wait to book! We’ve always been partial to Ojai Valley Inn, but this could become a new, intimate fave. Dinkins, who grew up in Ojai (about 60 miles West of Los Angeles), travels between the two spots regularly.

“I’m ready to do it my way,” said Dinkins over breakfast at Joan’s On Third in L.A “I feel like the Stila girl has grown up.”

Caitlin Dinkins Illustrations

"Pals" by Caitlin Dinkins

Indeed, both Dinkins and her work have come a long way from when she first started at Stila — fresh out of art school at the famous Cranbrook Academy of Art and working at an art gallery when a friend approached her about the job.

Note to the Mid-century design-obsessed: Cranbrook’s illustrious instructors have included Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames, Daniel Libeskind, Michael and Katherine McCoy, with just a few notable students you “might” have heard about: Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Hani Rashid to name a few. Fiitingly, Dinkins is as obsessed with interior design as she is with illustrating. In addition to her recent overhaul of Agave House, Dinkins has designed the Stila offices in Glendale, Calif., The Stila counter at Fred Segal, Santa Monica, and the home for Gymboree VP of Design, Anya Dinovich.

Dinkins’ own inspiration for her art runs the gamut from the famous names at her alma mater to Italian Vogue, Rodarte and Dries von Noten to French fashion darlings Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Dillon.

She recently signed on with Japanese agent Tomomi Suzuki, whose firm FilterArt will be bringing her work to Japan, and she has just finished designing the packaging for a hot, new beauty product launch to be carried by Sephora. (Stay tuned: FTD will be bringing you the exclusive.)

Stila Cosmetics, Rain Shower, 2006

Stila Cosmetics, Rain Shower, 2006 by Caitlin Dinkins

While trends in clothes, beauty and accessories are obvious to see — wide-leg pants, ripped jeans, red lips, nude lips, wedge heels, pumps, you name it — less talked about are the trends in the imagery brands use to communicate their message. Chief among these trends to land in the past decade has been the use of the fashion illustration girl. Think Ruben Toledo’s watercolor illustrations for Daily Candy that helped turn those daily nuggets into pure confection; Henri Bendel’s “Bendel Girl” who is fast becoming as iconic as their brown and white stripes; and, of course, Stila’s trendy It Girl, always ready with a fashionable outfit and wry smile.

Like all trends, it has a cycle. And this one has swung back and forth between illustrations

Caitlin Dinkins

"Lipstick and Bracelets" by Caitlin Dinkins

that have a more watercolor feel (like the work Dinkins is turning out now) to those that are more graphic, such as the current incarnation of the Stila girl.

“It’s going more artistic again.” Said Dinkins. “I don’t feel like the illustrations you see now are as contrived as they once were, as graphical.”

Dinkins is currently launching a creative agency that provides branding, illustration and interior design. On the wish list:  her own franchise of beautiful objets. Anthropologie are you listening?

Said Dinkins, “I want to make art. I want to do it all.”

DINKINS’ DELIGHTS: Her Favorite Stila products, sources and haunts in L.A. and Ojai

Favorite Stila Products…



Stila longwear lip color

1. Long Wear lip color in Exquisite is my all time fave. It is really that healthy, rosy, shimmery look that Jeanine Lobell invented in the beginning, and is still in my opinion, the most flattering look around.2. My go-to products are: Stila illuminating liquid foundation in 30 Watt, Convertible color in Magnolia and Fuschia, Grace eyeshadow, Copper Glow eyeshadow trio, and illuminating finishing powder in gold. In Los Angeles I love…3. Lost and Found Boutique...A spectacular array of home furnishings, antiques, clothing, art, jewelry, carpets, handbags, and stationary. One of the best anywhere!4. Indigo Seas on Robertson Blvd...Ivy restaurant owner, Lynn von Kersting, opened this gem of a boutique filled withIndigo Seas on Robertson

home furnishings, books, soaps, postcards, records, etc, all from the isle of Capri! (Kersting has a spectacular home there.)

In Ojai I love…

5. Boccali’sThis restaurant in the East end has not changed since I was 3 years old! Organic Italian food and wine.

6. Barbara Bowman Boutique…Sarah Johnson, who went on to become the women’s shoe designer for Prada once worked there! It is still an impeccable boutique.


Bart's Books

7. Bart's Books...An amazing used book store where I used to collect movie star pics from the '40s when I was a kid..10 cents a piece..Dorothy L'Amour was my favorite. (Note: Bart’s Book, nestled under a 420-year-old live coastal oak tree, is also home to an outdoor bookstore that still sells 35-cent books on the honor system!)8. Horn Canyon trail...Some of the best flora and fauna sighting in CaliforniaPapa Lennon's Ojai

9. Rainbow Bridge Market...Ojai’s mini Whole Foods

10. Papa Lennon’sArtisinal pizza, great ambiance

To See Caitlin Dinkins’ portfolio go to; to inquire about Agave House, e-mail:

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.