Alfredo Bouret - A life in illustrationPosted January 29 2014
Looking through our substantial collection of fashion illustration material recently we rediscovered the work of Mexican-born Alfredo Bouret - one of fashion’s most acclaimed illustrators. Bouret began his formal studies at the Mexican School of Art in the 1940s whilst holding down jobs as both a freelance illustrator and a costume designer for the Mexican film industry. From 1946 until 1948, his fashion illustrations appeared in La Familia, one of the first women’s fashion magazines to be published in Mexico City.
During his time at La Familia Bouret produced many beautiful covers as well as internal artwork in his unique, sparse style which often featured chic, languid models wearing vibrantly patterned and coloured fabrics. In 1947, Bouret won a fashion illustration competition which led him to Paris for six months where he briefly worked as an apprentice to designer Pierre Balmain who advised him to concentrate on fashion illustration and introduced him to the editor of French Vogue. From 1948 until 1962, Bouret’s sketches of the latest couture fashions appeared in the pages of French and British Vogue. Notably he was the only artist permitted to record the collections of Balenciaga.
Alfredo had always been interested in drawing figures, particularly of women, and his natural affinity for capturing the innate gracefulness of the female form resulted in him working with some of the most influential haute couture fashion houses and publications of all time. Following his time in Paris, Bouret moved to London where he worked with Harper’s Bazaar, English Vogue and Tatler.
It was around this time that Bouret also started to work as a visual merchandiser, most notably winning a commission from the Society of London Fashion Designers to create a design for the décor for their autumn collection show "At Home" at the Savoy. In the early sixties, Bouret opened his Mexikana Ltd boutique in Sloan Street in partnership with noted British designer John Cavanagh. The store which featured design collections by Meikan designer Tachi Castillo, proved a huge success and a second store was opened in Rose Bay in Sydney in 1969.
During his later years he also produced advertisements for brands including Jaeger and the Swiss Bally Shoe company. Bouret worked into his old age as a visual merchandiser and illustrator, passing away at his home in Canada in 2018.