I made this figurine with the team at Compton and Woodhouse. We decided to give it to the brilliant Royal Worcester factory to make it for us. They had a really solid team bossed by Roger Green, a gentleman and a scholar of the first degree, so it was always a pleasure.
I remember seeing an advert for a gown by designer Ian Stuart in a fashion glossy magazine. I thought everything about the photo in the magazine would make a lovely figurine.
Figures do not normally come about this way (I think it was a first for me). Anyway, I reproduced the look of the model pretty well straight up - no changes, not even to the model's pose.
I found the whole thing an inspiration and a thing of beauty - to be paid homage to - the diamond chequer in red and silver on the bodice and the top of the gloves, contrasted with the pure white of the dress and the gorgeous flowers. It was homage to Ian Stuart and the styling team who came up with the look for this particular ad.
Stuart is of course, one of the best modern designers of gowns in the UK.
The Worcester team did a great job of decorating her, and we had a winner on our hands.
We didn't ask permission to do the look of this photo for a simple reason. Asking permission when you don't really need to (out of politeness), can often backfire as things can get very unnecessarily complex when lawyers start getting involved and start jockeying for position to justify their existence and bump up their fees etc etc.
When you make a 3 dimensional model of a photo in a magazine, which was made by a designer, then photographed for the purposes of publicity, you don't normally run into too many problems with copyright or design rights. The reason being, the idea of the look of this dress is in the public domain. We are not trying to sell dresses, we are not reproducing the 2d image from the photographer, and we are not trying to gain advantage by using Stuart's name, but we are also happy to mention where the inspiration came from when asked.
We are just giving the talent some well deserved publicity - the exact reason the expansive advert was placed in the glossy mag in the first place. And we are making art by commenting on society we see around us. Imagine Renoir being sued by the maker of the striped dress in his painting La Loge. Unthinkable!
It just so happened that Ian Stuart's mum was an avid figurine collector, and saw our homage to Ian and his team, the Catherine figurine. She mentioned it to Ian and he got in contact. In fact, luckily he didn't mind, saw it as a compliment and we agreed to work with him in an official capacity.
A good result all round. I did some nice pieces designed by him, although I never did actually get to meet him in person, unfortunately.
I Would love to work with Ian's designs again some day.
So that's the story of how my Catherine figurine came into being
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