David Downton, the legendary fashion illustrator and Claridge's artist-in-residence, gives us a glimpse of life in haute couture.


David's talk on “Tales from Couture” will take place in the Fumoir at Claridge's. It is part of our Mayfair & St James's Literary Festival.

It ties in with the launch of his new, limited “art edition” book DD21, representing two decades of drawing and dreaming at the Paris haute couture shows.

“In July 1996, I was sent to Paris to cover the couture shows by the art director of the FT’s How To Spend It magazine,” he says of his first foray into fashion.

“For someone who had no experience of the fashion world, let alone its higher altitudes, it was like entering Narnia.

“Since then, every January and July I have recorded the passing parade.”



“I witnessed the glorious arc of Galliano at Dior, wept along with everyone else at Christian Lacroix’s valedictory show and delighted in the second flowering of Schiaparelli,” he says.

“For an artist there could be no richer seam.

“The near impossible task of editing this kaleidoscope of imagery into 100 or so pages for this book evoked many memories. I hope you enjoy them.”

DD21 is published by Colebank Publishing and costs £100. There are only 900 copies, which are signed and numbered by David Downton. The foreword has been written by Erin O’Connor.

For ticket information for the Literary Festival see our Events Listing

Read our earlier in depth interview with David Downton.

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