Like a Braque to Bailey’s Picasso, Terence Donovan was the quiet man, more interested in his art than his fame, whilst being more firmly at the centre of things than many of his more famous contemporaries.
Born a lorry-driver’s son, Donovan was a classic sixties East End boy made good, meaning that his car of choice was a Rolls or a Bentley and his studio was around the corner from Harrods – that is before he moved it to Mayfair – and he once said to me that his best advice was to turn up on time and wear a suit as that way you’d beat most of the competition before you even started (although he was a very large man with a black belt in judo so you’d imagine he’d beat most of the competition whichever way he went about it).
But of course he had made good, he was a proper example of a talented man in the right place at the right time. And that was a trick he was able to pull out of the bag more than once – many people may know him best as the director of the decade-defining video for Robert Palmer’s song Addicted to Love.
Terence Donovan Fashion is, perhaps surprisingly, the first publication solely devoted to his fashion work – and this unrepeatable distinction probably helped draw wife Diana Donovan, David Hillman, Robin Muir and Grace Coddington (now) of US Vogue, onto the project.
Chosen in favourites lists by the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times and The Times – the V&A Magazine explains: “Terence Donovan Fashion takes a portion of Donovan’s prolific output and moves it canon-ward”.
Two more quotes: Grace Coddington, creative director of US Vogue said of the man “Basically, he just loved photography and it showed” and he said of himself “All I want is an amusing and interesting life”.