Q+A with Fashion Illustrator David Downton

Posted by Kay

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Erin O’Connor by David Downton

I was introduced to the fabulous and graciously mischievous David Downton in the most fitting scenario: via our mutual friend (and one of his most regular muses) Erin O’Connor in The Fumoir bar at Claridges, where he is the artist in residence.

David in HIS seat

David in HIS seat

It’s a place I love to frequent, and if I’m very lucky, David is to be found in ‘his seat’ on regular visits to London (he lives with his family in Brighton) and has a room at Claridges.

Besides a marvelous ability to provide great company, David’s talent creates a world of ‘otherworldly’ beauty (and why he’s been commissioned to paint portraits of the most fabulous women; Anouk Aimee, Cate Blanchett, Catherine Deneuve, Iman…) for clients such as Chanel, Harrods, Tiffany & Co and Harpers Bazaar. Thandie & I agreed that he’d be a brilliant subject for our ongoing Men’s Q+A. We were right!

David Downton

Q+A

1. Do you remember the first time you found someone beautiful?

Ursula Andress

Ursula Andress

Yes it was in 1970. I was 11 and watched the Hammer (iconic British film co) version of SHE on TV. It starred Ursula Andress, who has remained my beauty ideal ever since. I met her a few years ago and was 11 again.

 2.  Can you describe why you found her beautiful?

She looked like an 11 year old imagines a goddess to look, otherworldly, ageless, foreign, and exotic…

 3.   How important is physical beauty important to you and why?

Very. ” The privileges of beauty are immense, but a mirror is not a door” said Jean Cocteau.

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IMAN

We should celebrate beauty not denigrate it.

Men’s Q+A

ThandieKay

There is enough bitterness, envy and misery, don’t you think?

 

 

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Anouk Aimee

 

 4. What do you find beautiful about your mother?

The way she copes with whatever life throws at her.

 5. What do you find beautiful about women now that you are an adult?

4. What do you find beautiful about your mother?

The way she copes with whatever life throws at her.

 

 5. What do you find beautiful about women now that you are an adult?

Everything, now I’m an adult. Carmen Dell’ Orefice ,

Carmen Dell'Orifice & David Downton

Carmen Dell’Orefice & David Downton

my friend who is 82 (and still the most beautiful woman in any room) described her looks as ‘hitting the lottery on the gene pool’.

Beauty has been her passport, but humour, tenacity, wisdom and an open heart have added patina.

They have ‘completed’ the beauty.

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Carmen 2003

 

 

 6. Have women’s looks become more or less important in our society?

They have always been important. For good and bad. Men’s looks have I think become much more important and they are now dealing with some of the same pressures as a result.

 

 

 6. Have women’s looks become more or less important in our society?

They have always been important. For good and bad. Men’s looks have I think become much more important and they are now dealing with some of the same pressures as a result.

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Erin and David

7. If you had a daughter who did not possess what society perceives as beauty and felt insecure about this, what would you say to her?

That I have never met a beautiful woman (or man) who wasn’t insecure about some aspect of their looks. A liberating thought in a way.

Linda Evangelista

Linda Evangelista

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett

BEAUTY ICONS

 

Beauty Icons

 

7. If you had a daughter who did not possess what society perceives as beauty and felt insecure about this, what would you say to her?

That I have never met a beautiful woman (or man) who wasn’t insecure about some aspect of their looks. A liberating thought in a way.

 8.  If your daughter attracted unwarranted attention from men because she was perceived as beautiful, what would you say to her?

Well, I do have a daughter and she is gorgeous (obviously) and she won’t listen to me (obviously) I would be tempted to say that most men of her age (23) are still boys.

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IMAN

All too often they need managing, tolerating and to grow up. That said, there is no excuse, ever, for behavior that is threatening or denigrating. Zero tolerance there.

Iman

IMAN

9. Would you like to see a wider variety of women in the media (age, ethnicity physicality) or do you like it just the way it is?

It’s ridiculous. I was watching John Humphreys chairing Mastermind (famous British quiz show) the other day, wondering why I wasn’t watching Joan Bakewell or Moira Stewart. 

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10.  Does the media represent women in a way that you see them? If not, how?

I’m afraid we have the media (and the politicians) we deserve.

 

See DavidDownton.com

Follow David’s Instagram

‘Masters of Fashion Illustration’ (right) available on Amazon

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