I strongly suggest going to F.I.G's open evenings whenever possible if you are fortunate enough to live in London. William Ling, gallery owner and the man in charge, has created a public platform for showcasing the most prolific illustrators in the business, something that has been somewhat lacking when it comes to fashion illustration. Seen as the minority and occasional alternative to photography and editorials, public and industry folk alike aren't always aware of the history of fashion illustration and aren't exposed to just how incredible some of the best talents are, or the work they put out for for high profile clients. With a focus on displaying commissioned pieces, F.I.G had three gloved assistants on hand to display to visitors both prints and originals from the artists.
A big focus of the open evening was on David Downton, who was on hand to sign copies of Masters Of Fashion Illustration in the new paperback edition, and previewing a new series of prints with the gallery which will be available later this year. I managed to have a small chat with Downton again after meeting him previously at LCF's Go Figure exhibit, talking mainly about Gruau and naturally asking him to sign my copy of Pourqoui Pas? (fanboy moment - being very flattered when he mentioned he loved my work, argh). It was also great to manage a brief catch up with Decoy favourite Richard Gray (Downton and Gray have known each other for years having both illustrated from the couture shows and salons) who I'm happy to say is still interpreting Keko Hainswheeler's accessories for a series of personal works after illustrating one previously for the double page spread in Decoy 3.
On display; Downton's original of Cate Blanchett for Vogue Australia's 40th anniversary issue.
With illustration legends Gray and Downton at F.I.G.
Also showcasing their newest member, a series of three new prints by Ricardo Fumanal are available with F.I.G, including 'Automatic Lover' for Hercules Magazine, 2008, which was used for Decoy's cover on Issue 2.
I unfortunately ended up rushing out to meet a friend and didn't get a chance to have a look through their selection of rare books like 'Antonio's Girls', or take enough photos for this post like I should have. Regardless, make sure you sign up to F.I.G's mailing list or their facebook to keep updated with their latest news, signings, and available pieces.