Thanks to a friend I met at Prick Your Finger, I got a heads up about an after-hours event at the Design Museum. The fashion illustration exhibit there is in its last weeks and a few activities have been scheduled around that. This evening was lovely – there was a live sketching event. The instructor encouraged us to use our left hands (above) and both hands at once (below) as we drew some lovely (if somewhat sleepy) models.
After the sketching session, I was lucky to join a guided tour of the exhibit by curator Colin McDowell, who incidentally, is one of my favourite fashion authors, someone who takes the long view of fashion, and with a great sense of insight and humour. I was too shy to introduce myself to him at that moment, so I went downstairs and participated in a little typography workshop, painting letterforms with gouache.
From that vantage point I noticed Mr. McDowell picking up a glass of wine at the bar and sitting down alone, and I knew it was up to me to say hi. Feeling somewhat nervous, I calligraphi-ed “HI” on a piece of card and introduced myself. Instantly I felt like I had met a tribal leader or fairy godfather or something – McDowell is a lovely man, fascinating and funny and interested in fashion from a very similar angle to my own, with a truly visceral connection to the past that is incredibly rare. Being a writer, he disarmed me by asking lots of questions. I showed him my loose sketches from earlier in the evening and he told me he thought they had potential – coming from a well-known collector of fashion illustration, to say this was a great validation is a huge understatement. Now one of my sketches is part of his collection. Wow.