Anthony Gilbert. Fashion Week
14 — 25 Sep 2015 at Messum's Gallery in London, United Kingdom
One of the last great designers of the golden age of British advertising, Anthony Gilbert (1916-1995) explored illustration through a variety of innovative techniques, and his own keen instinct for pattern and line. Trained at Goldsmith's College, in 1943, Gilbert joined the London office of J. Walter Thompson, where he would work for the next twenty-five years. He contributed key designs to some of the most high profile advertising campaigns of the post-war era, including Rowntree's, Horlick's and Rose's Lime Juice, the most enduring of which was his rococo mantel clock for After Eight mints, which is still used by Nestlé.
Throughout his advertising career, Gilbert also took on several independent commissions for major magazines, including The Strand; Lilliput; Vogue; House and Garden; and Radio Times.
Always a modest and retiring man, after he left the world of advertising in 1969, Gilbert might have become a total recluse were it not for the support of his wife, Ann, who became not only his model and muse, but also his helpmeet. When he took commissions for fashion illustrations, Anne would travel to London to pick up clothes from the editors of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar; return to their home in Kent; model the clothes; and then return them along with Gilbert’s illustrations.
His work reflects a sophisticated, even encyclopaedic knowledge of design, and the rare ability to balance intricate patterns with composition and form. Equally, it is thanks to Ann's devotion that Anthony Gilbert continued to produce work that remains as chic as it is timeless.