Beginning with first realising his talent or ‘knack’ for capturing likenesses as a child in rural Kent - ‘I thought I was a genius’ - Downton talks through the frustrations of art college and his early commercial work as a graphic artist. Launched into the fashion industry relatively late in his career as an illustrator, he recalls the story of his very first visit to Paris in 1996 to cover the haute couture shows, walking straight into a Valentino fitting with supermodel Amber Valetta: ‘I went into Narnia’. Offering opinions on the ‘sympathy’ between photography and illustration, the digital revolution gripping the industry, and full of stories of his spirited subjects, Downton explains the enduring magic of his medium: ‘Paul Klee said drawing is taking a line for a walk; fashion drawing is taking it dancing.’
On-demand footage of the entire interview will be available to watch from tomorrow, Wednesday 7 January 2015. In the meanwhile revisit the rest of our In Fashion series, featuring fashion luminaries from Daphne Guinness to Lady Amanda Harlech. As an extra treat, all the interviews are available to download as podcasts from iTunes.