London was awash with illustrations and prints made the old-fashioned way—with bare hands and no computer keyboards—on and off the spring runways.
Designers including Matthew Williamson, Giles Deacon and Claire Barrow all opted for bold, naïve and hand-drawn prints, while Smythson, Claridge’s and Roland Mouret hosted shows featuring freshly minted and vintage illustrations.
Williamson’s collection was full of hand-drawn prints, a universe away from his usual digital ones. There were botanical motifs, hand-drawn daisies and dragonflies on loose, languid silhouettes while big, cartoonish flowers blossomed over floor-sweeping tunics and sheer blouses.
“I wanted the prints to look like a five-year-old girl had done them, and I wanted to take a different trajectory, to explore prints in a much more organic way, focusing on man-made rather than machine,” Williamson said, adding that the hand doodling and graffiti was inspired by the late Keith Haring.
“Digital prints have been so popular in the last few seasons, and it really reflects where we are now in terms of technology: We are so heavily reliant on it. Switching off the computer and returning to hand-drawn techniques added a new dimension. The imperfect patterns gave the collection a more carefree, spontaneous spirit.”
Deacon’s show, a spiky take on springtime, featured bold, slightly smudgy gap-toothed ladies’ mouth prints, hand-painted with acrylics by the artist Donald Robertson, who is head of creative development at cosmetics brand Bobbi Brown. Deacon said he discovered Robertson’s work on Instagram.
“At the time, I had no idea who he was, but I loved his hand,” said Deacon. “And I had wanted to do lips, but in a different way.” He said he could easily return to handmade designs in the future. “I don’t think anyone wants to see any more mental digital repeats anytime soon.”
Off the runway, leather accessories and stationery brand Smythson tapped British illustrator and filmmaker Quentin Jones to create a series of collages of famous fans of the Panama Diary. The images are of a disparate bunch—from Sigmund Freud to Dita Von Teese, Erdem Moralioglu to Katharine Hepburn—and each features a letter of the alphabet that spells out Smythson.
“It’s paint, it’s paper, it’s not digital or slick or computerized,” said Rory O’Hanlon, the brand’s design director. “The images are playful, and we’re sharing what Smythson has been, what it is, and what it will be.”
The exhibition is touring Smythson stores worldwide.
Mouret, meanwhile, teamed with Janina Joffe, founder of the online fashion illustration gallery East of Mayfair, to showcase rare and previously unseen drawings by the late fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez.
The show, at Mouret’s Mayfair townhouse, was meant to mark the 70th anniversary of Lopez’s birth.
“When I was young, Antonio was one of the people who made you dream about fashion,” Mouret said of the bold, Pop Art-y works on show.
At the Mayfair Hotel, Claridge’s artist-in-residence David Downton unveiled his “Midnight at Noon” exhibition, and talked about the intimate overlap between drawing and life. During his two-year residency, Downton has hand-drawn hotel guests including Diane von Furstenberg, Joan Collins, Alber Elbaz, Christian Louboutin and Erin O’Connor.
Of the latter, he said: “She looks like a drawing in all her proportions, and everything I try to do on paper she is in life—so she makes me look good.”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye