David Downton: Artist in Claridge’s
September 15, 2013 by Tony Glenville
David Downton, Alber Elbaz, 2012
London Fashion Week, Friday night and pouring with rain……did this stop the glamouratti from flocking, indeed crowding into Claridges to both be seen next to their portraits and be seen? Not one iota; this was a very special event and all those invited were determined to be present.
Poppy Delavigne, Roland Mouret, Antonio Berardi, Marie Helvin, Nicky Haslam and Erin O’Connor were keen to be seen next to their Fumoir images. Selina Blow, Nicholas Oakwell, Richard Young, Virginia Bates, Catherine Baba, Jade Parfitt and Laura Bailey added to the throng, and the sound of excited chatter filled the crowded space from the moment of opening prompt at six o’clock through to the end at nineish when many of the party repaired from the gallery space to the Fumoir itself to continue chattering and laughing.
Behind all this frivolity was the work. Exquisitely arranged into groups the illustrations proved once and for all David Downton is much more than a portrayer of beautiful fashion models; from the bar staff caught in mid shake with their cocktails through to Philip Treacy or Nicholas Oakwell and Antonio Berardi captured relaxing, the images conjured up the personality of each individual, and captured that moment or instant when the sitting for the portrait took place.
The deep rich Biba purple of the Fumoir banquettes was a link behind many of the images, and the use of colour was extraordinary in its balance, considering most of the sitters had not selected their outfit to compliment the setting.
The portraits demonstrate that the world of chic, and style is still in existence and the Art Deco world of Claridges embraces it wholeheartedly, for these portraits only Cole Porter at the grand piano could provide the correct soundtrack. Timeless style is evident in every stroke of the brush or flick of the pen.
So if you have any opportunity to visit Claridges and study the David Downton Fumoir series on display there, seize it.
Midnight at Noon David Downton’s celebrity portrait show at Claridge’s, Brook Street London W1. Until September 18th, 2013.