London Fashion Illustration Gallery hosts art fair – WWD

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SEWING COLOR: “Fashion illustrations have always been almost like a secret sleeping beauty for decades,” British illustrator David Downton said at the Fashion Illustration Gallery’s second annual art fair in London.

Downton, who is also Artist in Residence at Claridges, has joined artists such as Gill Button, Tanya Ling and Blair Breitenstein, whose work is on display at the three-day fair held at The Shop at Bluebird in Chelsea.

Works by 30 artists are on display and prices range from 150 pounds for a small print by Sunflowerman to 25,000 pounds for an original print by Andy Warhol. The event is organized in association with the founder of Yu Capital and the Fashion Illustration Gallery, William Ling.

“There is something for all eyes and all tastes. There are fine established talents and new talents. What he does is create more and more buzz. I’ve been doing interviews about the renewed interest in fashion illustration for probably five years. But, now I say what wake-up call? It’s really there and I’m thrilled.

Downton exhibited a mix of his older works with new pieces including colorful illustrative couture looks by Schiaparelli and Alexis Mabille alongside commissioned designs.

Downton is also working on a book based on 21 years of couture drawing. “There are other illustrators who have more longevity than me,” said Downton.

“But I don’t think there is anyone who has gone to the fashion shows every summer and winter. So that’s 42 seasons. It’ll be July 42, and I’ve never missed one. I’ve seen all of John Galliano’s couture shows. I saw the first McQueen and the last Lacroix. You know, sewing is the magic show. It has been an extraordinary time.

Downton is also making his first foray into e-commerce and plans to launch an online store this fall that will carry items such as postcards, prints and his book.

Button called the show a “fresh and unique approach” to showcasing fashion illustrations. “This is a new series of work,” Button said of his work, which shows portraits of faces. “I have never worked with color before. I worked in color with oil pants and used monochromatic ink. It was a new approach for me with watercolor, so it’s a similar technique with ink by introducing color.

“Traditionally, fashion illustration is recorded for magazines and online,” said Breitenstein. “So seeing him in person is really important and cool to see him up close – all artists and styles are different.”

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