David Downton

Report from interviews for the Making Great Illustration book. For more info see About

When you know that the person you are about to interview hangs out with supermodels and celebrities, preparing for an interview suddenly seems to take on a different complexion. I don’t think I’ve ever been so conscious of my split ends, not that they infringe upon my understanding of fashion illustration.

David Downton works in an arty loft in Brighton. It’s a vibrant and lively seaside town and a good place to hang out with the photographer Paul Duerinx whilst waiting to interview the illustrator who eats pub lunches with people like Kate Moss. She eats chips too so I’ve got a perfect excuse to induge.

David and Jo in his studio. Photograph by Paul Duerinckx

I’ll met David before and written reviews about his excellent journal, “Pourquoi pas?” for Varoom magazine so I know that he is both charming and very knowledgeable about fashion illustration. He’s also still absolutely passionate about it and exudes a terrific energy throughout interview, the portrait of his muse, Erin O’Conner, peering down throughout.

David enthusiastically gives us a sneak preview of the proofs of his book about the history of fashion, “Masters of Fashion Illustration” which he has recently published by Laurence King. It is of course stylish and visually sumptuous. When you’ve bought our book go and buy his.

Because of the business he operates within, David is more conscious of the camera than any of our previous interviewees and jokingly implores that Paul photographs him from the right angle. I wish I had the same power. He’s naturally photogenic but also knows how to strike a pose. When Paul takes some more formal shots at the end of the interview David emerges sporting a striking jacket with big scissors appliquéd up the side. This choice of attire makes sense as he’s off to the private view of the exhibition “Glamour” opening at the V&A gallery, in London. The photos which Paul takes are excellent portraits. They truly capture the character of a man who really knows the meaning of the word style.

Photograph by Paul Duerinckx

Jo Davies

David Downton site

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