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Inspiring Instagram: David Downton

Fashion News
The dashing David Downton in front of one of his illustrations of Dita Von Teese.

By Jessica Michault

One of the most famous fashion illustrators, David Downton is adored by the most beautiful women in the world for his ability to capture their style and splendor in just a few brush strokes. For a quick guide to the best of best, pick up TK’s “David Downton: Portraits of the World’s Most Stylish Women,” where he captured 150 of his subjects. Here, the artist shares five of the Instragam feeds he looks to for inspiration.

“I like @gattimania for its effervescence and visual wit,” said Downton about the feed of renowned artist Juan Gatti. “A great example of his work can be seen in the entrance hall of the Faena Miami Beach Hotel. The huge murals are rich with exotic references and thick with a mélange of colorful hues.” On Gatti’s Instagram feed you can see how his love of the natural world and the anatomy of the human body come together to create stunning art.


The feed @draftdesign caught the illustrator’s eye for its ability to zero in on the mid-century graphics that he loves. It is chock full of colorful, often industrial images that are dramatic as they are abstract. @draftdesign is a London-based designer and collector who also works at the uber cool SHOWstudio, which was started by the envelope pushing photographer and filmmaker Nick Knight.


@carlozvill2 is the brainchild of the Spanish artist Carlos Censurado. (Instagram censored Censurado’s first feed for some of his more racy posts, hence the “2” on his latest account. Downton is drawn to Censurado’s feed due to its “beautifully curated” black and white visuals, and often finds a shared love for many of the same subjects.


“I want almost every book they post about,” Downtown says of He isn’t the only one. Many major players in the fashion industry turn to the self-proclaimed “superbooksellers” of Dover Street to fill their bookshelves. A literal feeding frenzy breaks out each time they share some of the rare books they find. And some fans are known to have gone on extreme book binges, like Sonia Rykiel’s artistic director Julie de Libran, who filled the shelves of the brand’s flagship store with books for a recent fashion show.


@richard_haines is an illustrator that Downton admires for his "colorful and upbeat drawings." Haines, who is based in New York, is one of today’s most sought after illustrators and used to design for fashion brands, including J. Crew, Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. No doubt his work inside the industry has helped to shape his ability to capture it from the other side.


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