David Downton, unique work, £2,500

FIGAF, The Fashion Illustration Gallery’s Art Fair, returns to Chelsea’s The Shop at Bluebird is back for a three day event connecting collectors with both the best emerging talents and the most established artists in fashion illustration today.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, the second FIGAF sees almost thirty participating artists, including Rosie McGuinness, Luke Edward Hall and Andrea Ferolla to industry-beloved David Downton and Richard Haines.

Highlights include new watercolours that simmer with darkness by Gill Button alongside a new suite of prints by Downton, made from drawings in his couture archive and whimsical Cocteau-esque pencil renderings by Luke Edward Hall.

William Ling, Founder of the Gallery, talks about the compelling beauty of an art form in the resurgence.

Bel: What does fashion illustration bring to contemporary fashion imagery?
William: A point of difference. Most campaigns are photographed and, dare I say, a little sterile. Drawings and paintings bring life, heart and soul. They put fashion on a different level. The hand gives feeling and flair and we instinctively respond.  Fashion illustrations reflect light and time and generously give pleasure. Whilst the fashion illustrators we work with study the same subject matter, the results that each produce vary hugely so there is something for everyone, so to speak.

Tanya Ling, unique work, £1800.

Bel: Which current illustrators working today do you rate?
William: I have worked most closely with my wife Tanya Ling who has had a career as a fashion illustrator now for two decades and I am very fond of her so you must forgive me for naming her. We’ve grown up together.

I have also worked with David Downton very closely. Without them both, there would be no FIG or FIGAF. Both work consistently at the highest level and have huge influence.

The gallery is undergoing a period of growth and I’m very excited to be working with Andrea Ferolla from Rome, Blair Breitenstein from Brooklyn and Cecilia Carlstedt from Stockholm. I ought to also add Rosie McGuinness and Gill Button from the UK amongst others.  Each are highly accomplished and produce work that reflects a unique vision of the world.

Bel: What’s the most beguiling aspect of seeing clothing turned into art?
William: When you encounter a very good fashion illustration, there can be a sense that the painting, drawing or collage will outlive the name of the brand represented in the clothing. It’s as if clothing gives birth to something greater than itself. Utilitarian design has given way to Art. As the focus becomes the drawing and painting, the clothes become something of a footnote. There is, of course, an argument that the illustration will always play second fiddle to the creative enterprise of design, as the former follows the latter but clothes disintegrate and shows are fleeting whereas pictures are kept for the pleasure, edification and education of future generations and gain over time significance and cultural capital.

Fashion Illustration Gallery Art Fair, Edition 2, in partnership with Yu Capital. Till Sunday, July 2, 2017, at The Shop at Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5UU. Opening Times 10am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm. Visit http://www.fashionillustrationgallery.com/ for more information. There is also be a series of talks chaired by thought-leaders and influencers within the field of fashion illustration.

Monique Baumann, unique work, £2,700.

Gill Button, unique work, £800.

Amelie Hegardt, unique work.

Frida Wannerberger, unique work, £510.

Luke Edward Hall, unique work, £1,750.

David Downton, unique work, £3,000.

Andrea Ferolla, Benny in the Garden.