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Sketching Thea Porter I

Posted by Laura
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My favourite part of my work as a historian is the research—I love nothing more than digging through an archive of old papers, piecing together a life story from scraps of letters and unfinished notes. My new book and exhibition on the fashion designer Thea Porter (which Cherie from Shrimpton Couture has so generously loaned garments from her personal collection to) was just such a project—years of sorting through boxes of all of her personal papers and interviewing all of her surviving friends, colleagues and clients. Among the many things I found, and which have been unseen since a few were published in newspapers in the 1970s, were a series of fashion illustrations done of her collections. This first group were commissioned by Thea from the Parisian fashion illustrator Duthy in 1977—at the time she was living both in London and Paris, and opened a store in Paris in April of that year. Duthy's elegant lines emphasize the way Porter's fabrics and silhouettes enhance the feminine body beneath. The first two sketches below show Duthy's process—between the first and the second he subtly changed the fall of the sash and drew a more imperious cast to the eye. Only one of these made it into the book so I am pleased to share the rest with you.

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