Creative Director, School of Media and Communications, London College of Fashion
The catwalk provides an observational lesson, and at the same time demands the development of a stylistic shorthand. As the models walk past, the idea is not to stare at the sketchbook but to get the impression down as quickly as possible. The detail of a neckline, or the swirl of a back panel may be the key element to be recorded. The front view may not be what has to be sketched and, if a design is totally symmetrical, for speed’s sake only half of it needs to be drawn. The notes support and are a relevant addition to the sketch, being fabric and colour so vital. I draw because I enjoy doing it at shows; it enhances my enjoyment of the occasion. I have drawn at catwalk shows from every vantage point, as standing at the back or sitting in the front row, and in cities across the globe, from Tokyo to New York. The sketchbooks are stored as records of both the seasons and the designers, among whom some are no longer with us, like Guy Paulin, while others are retired as Monsieur de Givenchy; some instead, whose moment passed, enjoyed a fleeting fame.
I have never drawn to induce the others to watch, although people sitting next to me are often fascinated, not so much by the quality of my sketches as by the speed. This is indeed an example showing that the more one practices the better he becomes; after nearly half a century drawing at a catwalk show is to me as essential as breathing is.
I always draw in a small sketchbook, approximately A5 size, which is usually chosen for its stylish or decorative binding. This is fashion after all, and the sketchbook comes under the heading of accessory. Over a big season I can fill several books. The number of the sketches often reflects the importance of the show, and many pages are filled as I get carried away. I am not what I consider an illustrator but I could perhaps be described as a sketch artist. These sketches, like the shows they record, once done, are fully completed. They are not carried on, to another life, as developed drawings: they are a complete entity in themselves.
Education and background
- 1963 – 1966 West Sussex College of Art and Design
Trained as a fashion designer, Tony Glenville has worked extensively as a consultant and journalist, collaborating with Vogue Paris, Vogue Australia, The Evening Standard, Harpers Bazaar, The Financial Times, The Independent Drapers Record, Viewpoint Amsterdam, Sunday Express and with numerous TV and radio programmes. In 1996 he joined Condé Nast as European Editor at Large for Vogue Australia, to become later Fashion Director for Asia Pacific working with Vogue in Taiwan and Korea and contributing to the launch of Vogue Nippon.
Glenville has been visiting lecturer at several institutions as KIAD , LCF, Surrey Institute, Central St Martins, and was Course Leader for Fashion Promotion at the University College of Creative Arts Rochester (2001- 2004). Since 2008, he is Creative Director of the School of Media & Communications at London College of Fashion.
- 1996 “Shoes”, in The Cutting Edge: 50 years of British Fashion: 1947-1997, edited by Amy de la Haye, V&A Publications, London.
- 1998 Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life, by Jane Mulvagh, Haper Collins, London, consultant.
- 1998 Take Three Black Skirts, by Anna Johnson, Penguin Books, London, consultant.
- 2000 The Ossie Clark Diaries, edited by Henrietta Rouse, Bloomsbury, London, consultant.
- 2005 Knitwear in Fashion, by Sandy Black, Thames & Hudson, London, consultant. 2006 Top to Toe: A Comprehensive Guide to Grooming the Modern Male, edited by T.Glenville, Sterling Publishing, New York, 2006.