David Downton Valentino S/S 2018 drawing

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Leading fashion artist David Downton’s elegant ink and watercolour portraits have been credited as playing a key role in the revival of interest in fashion illustration.

In 1996, Downton was sent to Paris by the FT to cover that season’s couture shows, an experience he compares to entering Narnia. For Downton, it was the start of a lucrative career creating illustrations for an enviably long list of glamorous clients and publications, and, in September 2011, he was appointed Claridge’s first ever artist in residence, commissioned to draw the hotel’s most distinguished guests.

I’ve always felt drawn to this image, from the S/S 2018 Valentino Couture show, with its blend of soft gouache tones and starker, liquid ink. There’s something abstract about the image, which nevertheless retains Downton’s now characteristic half-rendered facial features, sparse ink detailing and faded, soft colour palette.


Valentino Couture Spring/Summer 2018 (4) by David Downton (2018)

via Fashion Illustration Gallery

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