Monthly Archives: April 2009

David Downton


How did you become a fashion illustrator?
– I am not really sure. I didn’t set out to become one. It happened very gradually. I spent about 15 years as a freelance illustrator taking on whatever came in – and enjoying it too. Sometimes, because of my style of drawing I was asked to produce fashion images- but I think during that time I covered almost every subject matter. From children’s books to a sex manual. My first job was a cover for Which Computer magazine in the early 80’s.
Were you interested in fashion?
– Not particularly – but I loved the work of the great fashion illustrators, Gruau, Antonio and Eric and always appreciated them as artists.
What drew you to illustration in the first place?
– I was always drawing. As a child, my idea of a treat was a big sheet of white paper. I didn’t realise, until much later, that you could make a living from drawing.
What triggered your move into fashion illustration – was there something specific?
– Absolutely. In 1996 I was sent to draw at the Paris haute couture shows for a magazine. Like most illustrators I sit listening to Radio 4 with an angle poise for company, so I was very excited to get out of the studio – and a paid trip to Paris sounded good to me.
What was your reaction to that first trip to couture?
– It blew me away! I was totally unprepared for it. Couture really is a parallel universe – I’ve heard it described as the kingdom of indulgence, which is true, but it is also extremely inspiring for an artist or illustrator; the worlds most beautiful women, designers working without constraint – the sheer theatricality of it all – there is a lot to draw!
What makes an interesting fashion subject?
– I think the most important thing is the sense of the body in the clothes. After that, proportion, colour, a detail. Anything can catch the eye – but what is interesting in fashion terms isn’t necessarily what makes a good drawing and vice versa.
Lets talk about your work methods. How do you arrive at the elimination of detail?
– For me this is the hardest and the most interesting thing. In order to leave something out, first you have to put it in, or at least understand how every thing works. I do dozens of drawings on to layout paper taking the best from each one as I go. When the drawing looks right I start to eliminate, to de-construct if you like. I keep working until it looks spontaneous.
What methods do you use to apply colour?
– It depends on the result I want to achieve and what is most appropriate to the subject. I use watercolour or gouache for small scale pieces. If I need flat saturated colour I use cut paper collage and then apply line using an acetate overlay.
What about the pure line drawing?
– I use black Indian ink on acetate or paper.
– So how do you draw on location, say at the Paris shows?
I don’t actually draw during the catwalk shows anymore, I find it impossible. I take photographs or I just watch – I draw whenever there is a chance that the model will stay still, backstage or at fittings sometimes even in the car between shows. When I first started I thought it was my responsibility to draw the clothes as they came down the catwalk. The first show I ever saw was Versace couture, I just about managed to draw Kate Moss’ arm before she disappeared!
What for you makes a successful fashion illustration?
– Fluidity, mastery of the medium – capturing a sense of the moment, layout and use of space and most important of all, strong drawing. You can’t be too good at drawing.
Which fashion illustrators do you admire?
– Gruau for his graphic genius, Vertes for his humour, Bouché for his lightness of touch and Eric for his draughtsmanship.
What about the illustrators of today?
– That’s harder but there are probably half a dozen strong, individual fashion illustrators in the world today who have anything like the panache of those I have mentioned, not many.
What is your attitude to the computer?
– Well, I have one, I think its probably a necessary evil, but nothing can compare with that first flash of black ink on white paper.
What prompted you to start painting portraits?
– Again it wasn’t planned. I met Marie Helvin when she came to an exhibition of mine in London. I asked if I could draw her and was delighted when she agreed. The drawing turned out well and I began to plan a book of drawings of the world’s most amazing women.
Are you still planning a book?
– Absolutely, I’ve just given up worrying about when it will be finished.
So would you call yourself a portrait painter?
– No! Absolutely not. Lucien Freud, Graham Sutherland and Jenny Saville are portrait painters.
Does your approach for the portraits differ from the fashion work?
– The aims are the same, simplicity, a fluid line, the illusion of effortlessness, of course there is the added dimension of having to capture a likeness.
– Is that important to you? Do you find it difficult to achieve?
It is very important and strangely I don’t find it difficult. It is more a knack than anything else. Some great artists don’t have the knack some mediocre ones do…
You have worked with some very famous women – why do you think they agree to sit for you?
– You’d better ask them!

And why women by the way?
– The illustrators I mentioned earlier Gruau, Bouché and Antonio always drew the most beautiful women of the era. Also, I like women, it’s a great job.
– Tell me something about the sittings themselves
They normally take about two hours and usually I go to the sitters’ house or a hotel suite. I drew Anna Piagggi between couture shows in Paris while they were taking the chairs away around us. Marisa Berenson was drawn on a boiling hot October day in New York on a roof terrace. You have to be flexible.
Are you trying to say something new about your famous sitters?
– No, I draw what I see – I wouldn’t presume to know someone after two hours. I am dealing with the public person not trying to expose the person behind it or get at some inner truth – but the best drawings are true collaborations.
So, you do a complete drawing in two hours?
– No, I complete the work at home in my studio – a safe environment – and I never let the sitter see what I am doing, I don’t have the confidence. I have to have time to evaluate it myself first.
Who would you like to have drawn?
– Staying with women, from the 20th century – I’d say Sylvaana Mangano, Lee Miller, Audrey Hepburn, Josephine Baker, Ava Gardner, Edith Sitwell… it’s a long list.
– How do you escape from the world of style?
By not living in it. I escape to it from time to time which is great also. I have two children who couldn’t care less about who I am drawing – which probably helps.

+ his biography…
1996- He was sent to draw at a Paris Haute Couture shows for a fashion magazine.
1998-1999-His work has been exhibited in solo shows at the Conningsby Gallery, in London.
2002-Collaborated with supermodel Erin O’Connor on a number of occasions including shows at the Rootstein Gallery in New York
2003-Joyce Ma Gallery, Palais Royal, Paris.
2006-Another exhibition at the Couture Voyeur show at London College of Fashions Fashion Space Gallery.
Also, in the same year, Commissioned by Brown’s to design the Christmas window display and invitation for their South Moulton Street street.
2007-his work featured in the Daily Telegraph on the front cover of a special edition of Jane Austen’s Emma.
Also, on the cover of Cally Blackman’s 100 Years of Fashion Illustration.


Prada s/s 2009 Look Book

The Spring/ Summer 2009 Look Book

An exploration of the collection’s domain of inspiration by AMO: divinity, tribalism and primitive

symbolism – graphically represented through the dialogue of references between fashion and imagery.

Tom Ford


The first Bond looks

A few months ago we confirmed that Tom Ford would be responsible for James Bond’s wardrobe design in the new Bond film Quantum Solace – and now we’re bringing you the first photos of Tom Ford’s looks.

After many years of Brioni’s designs, the James Bond franchise wanted to revamp agent 007’s wardrobe in line with the new look Daniel Craig has brought to the role. For Tom Ford, the challenge was to demonstrate that an action character could pull off an elegant dress sense with a conservative touch.

Ford, along with Louise Frogley (the film’s wardrobe director), decided to use navy tones for Craig’s look. And how many pieces were made? 420 garments were made for 11 changes. Why so many? Ford created 3 or 4 perfect garments per scene, and added three pieces to be destroyed – so that scenes could be repeated and the suits could be worn by stuntmen.

And the best thing? Craig has a lot of respect for Tom Ford, and that made it easy for them to work together… Now we’ll leave you with the first photos of Bond dressed by Tom Ford, and with the latest news that Ford plans to open a shop in Las Vegas in a new centre with neighbours such as Louis Vuitton and Marni. The success of Ford’s men’s collections seems simply unstoppable.


No grey areas : designers explore the stark contrast of black versus white, in all its monochromatic majesty. Focus now on print, shape and texture.

Photographed by Nick Knight.
Model Anja Rubik.

Watch this ShowStudio – Vogue UK “Black and White” Photoshoot with Anja Rubik.

Nick Knight

Nick Knight is among the world’s most influential photographers as well as being Director & founder of the fashion & art internet broadcasting channel.
He has won numerous awards for his editorial work for Vogue, Dazed & Confused, W magazine, i-D, and Visionaire, as well as for fashion and advertising projects for clients including Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Levi Strauss, Yohji Yamamoto and Yves Saint Laurent. On the 24th October 2006 Nick Knight was awarded the prestigious Moet Chandon Fashion Tribute for 2006, which he celebrated by throwing a masked ball at Horace Walpoles Gothic revival treasure, Strawberry Hill.
As a fashion photographer, Nick Knight has consistently challenged conventional notions of beauty. His first book of photographs, skinheads, was published in 1982. He has since produced Nicknight, a 12 year retrospective, and Flora, a series of flower pictures. Knight’s work has been exhibited at such institutions as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Saatchi Gallery, the Photographers Gallery and Hayward Gallery and recently The Tate Modern. He has produced a permanent installation, Plant Power, for the Natural History Museum in London. He lives with his wife and three children in London.

Karen Mirzoyan

Young Armenian photographer and photojournalist Karen Mirzoyan has been nominated for the 2008 World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass.


About the Photograph – The Yezidis are a minority group in Armenia, part of a population that extends through Turkey, Georgia, Syria and Iraq. Many live a semi-nomadic life, as they have done for thousands of years, tending sheep and spending winter months in their villages, then moving to high mountain pastures in the spring, where today they live in old Soviet military tents. Yezidis practice a secretive and ancient religion, which predates Islam and appears to fuse aspects of Judaic, Zoroastrian and other local beliefs. Some controversy surrounds their identity. During the Soviet era, Yezidis were classified as non-Muslim Kurds. With the rise of national self-consciousness through the region in the 1980s, a revival of Yezidi identity occurred, and in 1989 the Armenian government declared them to be a separate ethnic group. Yet there remain strong divisions on issues of identity among the Yezidi themselves.


Faith & Armenia

Karabakh – Unrecognized football
KMi 06




Lebanon Bed in My Hand



BELARUS by MirzOyan

Jill Greenberg

Jill Greenberg is an American photographer. She is known for her portraits, editorial, advertising, and art work.
Greenberg was born July 1967 in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in a suburb of Detroit. She graduated with honors in 1989 from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Photography and moved to New York City to pursue a career in photography. Greenberg moved to Los Angeles in 2000 where she met her husband Robert.
Since the age of 10. Jill Greenberg has been staging photographs and creating characters using the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, film and photography. Greenberg’s notable success with gallery and museum shows, book publishing, commercial and editorial photography displays her unique perspective with a clear voice which is apparent through her distinctive lighting and personally – executed post production.
Greenberg has done commercial work for corporations such as Philip Morris, Microsoft, Compaq, Polaroid, Dreamworks, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, MGM, Disney, Fox, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Smirnoff, MTV, Warner Bros., Sony Music, and Atlantic Records. Her photos have appeared on the covers of Time Magazine, TV Guide, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Wired, Entertainment Weekly and numerous other publications.
Her artwork has been featured in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The New Republic and several other publications. Her monkey series has been purchased by art collectors worldwide. She is shown at ClampArt in New York, and Fahey/Klein in Los Angeles and her artwork has been exhibited in Adelaide, Australia as well as in San Francisco, Chicago, and various other cities.

Jill Greenberg first established her artistic reputation as a preeminent celebrity photographer, shooting such Hollywood personalities as David Bowie, Liza Minelli, Drew Barrymore, Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, among many others. In 2001, Greenberg turned her lens on celebrities of a different sort, namely monkeys and apes, many of whom have appeared in film and television as well as her The End series featuring teary eyed kids.

Check out a video with Jill by Cool Hunting.

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