Fashion illustration and double page from Queen magazine, 'The Mexican Look', pen/ink with gouache/paper, Alfredo Bouret [artist]/Queen Magazine [pub.], London, England, 1963
Alfredo Bouret achieved considerable acclaim as a fashion illustrator after he arrived in Paris from Mexico in 1948 and proceeded to work for many major couture houses, including Pierre Balmain and Balenciaga. He was also formatively involved with the revival of the 'ethnic look' in dress from the 1950s through to the 1980s. His exhibition of drawings of local styles of Mexican dress, held at 'Le Bazaar', the boutique of the great couturier Jean Desses, in 1954 was influential, inspiring a collection by Valentino (who was working for Desses at the time) based on the 'Mexican look' - a look which Bouret himself subsequently took up with his own 'Mexicana' range of 1962-1985 that he also promoted with fashion illustration. Some of these illustrations were reproduced in Queen magazine (98/61/4).
The 'Mexicana' range was successfully sold through 'Mexicana' shops in London between 1962 and 1985 and in Sydney from 1969 to 1972. These shops were an innovative extension of Bouret's personal, cultural and artistic background and experience - merging Bouret's cultural connections with Mexico (all the Mexicana dresses were made in Mexico), his skills as a fashion illustrator and his experience in the couture houses of Paris. A wide and very popular range of 'Mexican look' dresses were created and many of these dresses are still fondly remembered by the women who bought and wore them at that time, sometimes as wedding dresses.
Fashion illustrations by Alfredo Bouret have been reproduced in 'Images De Mode 1940-1960', Christian Dior Museum, Granville, France 1996; Marie-Andree Jouve, Balenciaga, Rizzoli, New York 1989; Balenciaga: Masterpieces of Fashion Design, National Gallery of Victoria 1992; and 'Alfredo Bouret' the exhibition leaflet produced for the Charles Hewitt Gallery, Woollahra in 1997.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator
Alfredo Bouret was both the fashion illustrator and designer of 'The Mexicana' look. Alfredo Bouret now lives in Sydney.
Born in Mexico he went to Paris in 1948 to study design and to report on the fashion collections for 'The Excelsior', Mexico's premier newspaper. In Paris, Bouret worked as a fashion illustrator for Pierre Balmain, Balenciaga and many of the major couture houses. His work appeared regularly in French Vogue, English Vogue, American Glamour and American Vogue during the 1950s. In 1953 he returned to Mexico and his drawings from this trip were exhibited in Mexico and in Paris at 'Le Bazaar', the boutique of the couturier Jean Desses. Valentino, working for Dessess, subsequently did a collection based on the Mexicana look of Alfredo's drawings. Alfredo Bouret opened his own "Mexicana" fashion boutique in London (1962-1985) and Sydney (1969-1972) and during that time his clothes were worn by Princess Anne, Princess Diana and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
'ALFREDO BOURET' EXHIBITION LEAFLET, CHARLES HEWITT GALLERY, WOOLLAHRA 1997 AND 'BALENCIAGA: MASTERPIECES OF FASHION DESIGN', EXHIBITION CATALOGUE, NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA, 1992
Published in Queen Magazine