|Lily Cole by David Downton in Masters of Fashion Illustration|
It takes time to appreciate a drawing with its subtleties and innuendos, expressed through precise lines and splashes of colour. As fashion illustrator David Downton said in his talk at the V&A, "people have to fill in the gaps".
Today it is a rare occasion to see fashion illustrations in magazines but throughout their history, there were many memorable artists whose dazzling work contributed to their role as a talent platform far beyond today's window display attitude.
"Before the rise of photography it was artists who interpreted the work of great designers. Essentially they invented fashion illustration as an art form." David Downton
|James Bond movie posters (Barbican exhibition)|
When he was a teenager, David Downton enjoyed copying movie posters at home and he was able to draw for a living but fashion only entered his life aged 36, when he was asked to go to Paris haute couture shows. The first show he saw was by Versace the year before the designer died.
This marked the beginning of a journey which has made him one of today's leading fashion artists, following the footsteps of the fashion illustrators he had studied in the past. Masters of Illustration guides us through the greatest "image makers who have managed to put a stamp on a time".
|Fashion illustration by René Gruau (source: christies.com)|
"What interests me is the combination of people and clothes." David Downton
After the highest moments of fashion illustration, we're graced with David Downton's own work, elegant images capturing glamour with precision and energy. Fashion is so intertwined with his work that even his portraits are highly stylised and convey the strength of a distinct personality.
|Dita Von Teese by David Downton in Masters of Fashion Illustration|
These two elements are present in any iconic fashion image you can think of, it's all about extraordinary style mixed with a bold attitude. He called his work a varnished truth, truthful but polished. I find it not only eye-catching but terribly inspiring!
Masters of Illustration
by David Downton
(£19.95, Laurence King Publishing)
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