The View From The Dresser’s Room (archive 11/09)

by @style

The View From The Dresser’s Room

David Downton, illustrator extraordinaire and all round nice guy (I once emailed him to ask if I could rip off one of his illustrations for a logo and he very politely emailed back, clearly he said no!) has long been an inspiration of mine. His work is glamorous, provocative, sexy and very fashion centred; everything I like to see in illustration. I’ve been lusting after a Downton original for years, but, as it remains several thousand pounds out of my budget, I’ve had to be content with admiring his work from afar. Not any more! David’s work can now be found in Paperchase, of all places, on blank cards which are just gorgeous. I’m buying them all and framing them, they’re amazing.

Downton’s work reminds me of another incredibly talented illustrator, Rene Gruau, whose work with Dior firmly put France back on the map as a global powerhouse of luxury. Even if you’ve never heard his name, I’m sure you’ve seen one of his illustrations, they’re truly iconic. Check him out. At this point I should probably speak about Erte, but let’s leave that ‘til next month, otherwise I’ll take over the paper!

I’m reading Boy George’s autobiography Take It Like A Man at the moment, it’s fantastic, exactly as you’d expect, full of drama, tears, tantrums and fashion. As much as it’s his life story, it’s also a fascinating insight to the huge cultural shifts of the late seventies and early eighties; many people think of Boy George as a just a drugged up transvestite, he is so much more than that, truly witty and intelligent. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think he’s a genius and can definitely recommend the book. Even if you have a passing interest in New Romanticism this book will give you a much deeper insight to the London Blitz Kids scene of the early eighties. Another book to swat up on New Romantics is New Romantics: The Look by Dave Rimmer; everything you ever needed to know about the whole scene and getting the look.

This month the shop is getting it’s winter coat on; new window displays, inspiring pictures everywhere, new lights, and, most importantly, lots of fabulous new stock. As we’re coming up to party season I want to make sure the shop is brimming with gorgeous evening wear, so I’ve been on my travels and come back with plenty to get you excited. 1920s and 30s super-glam evening dresses and lame jackets, trimmed in velvet and fur, frothy 1950s prom-wear, lots of Blow Up-esque 1960s gear and amazing Jerry Hall-at-Studio-54 clobber; all sleek jersey, one shouldered gowns and sequins on everything!

Also, to get everyone in the party mood I’ve been re-thinking my music choices. Normally I’d play a lot of the Shangri-las, Northern Soul, The Who, etc. but recently it’s sounding a bit flat, so I’ve cranked up the volume on Biba: Champagne and Novocain (which is amazing, lots of sleazy seventies and glam rock, who wouldn’t love it?), Alice Cooper, Marvin Gaye and the theme from The Eyes of Laura Mars. I’m not much of a muso to be honest, so if you have any music suggestions let me know by emailing, I need all the help I can get!

Biba Champagne and Novocaine

Boy George! ICON!


The wonderful work of David Downton