School of Fashion Announces Honorary Doctorate Recipients

The School of Fashion will honor Martine and Prosper Assouline, founders of Assouline Publishing, and the fashion illustrator David Downton, at the Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 23, 2009. They will receive Doctorates of Humane Letters for their contribution to the world of Art and Design, from president Dr. Elisa Stephens.

“Each year we select honorees who have made an outstanding contribution to the fashion industry and from whom students are able to learn,” said Dr. Stephens.  “We are delighted to have two of the most influential leaders in the publishing world as well as one of the most highly respected fashion illustrators.”  Guests will meet the students during a Q&A panel discussion as well as the static exhibition before the fashion show where graduates present their portfolios. Downton will also visit drawing studios to work with Fashion Illustration students. The Assoulines will select two interns from the Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Journalism programs; one will work in the Paris office and the other in the New York office.

Martine and Prosper Assouline are the co-founders of Assouline Publishing, the foremost publisher in the world on fashion and style.  For the past ten years, Assouline Publishing ( has created lavish illustrated books dedicated to fashion, photography, art and design.  Renowned for their highly original graphic concepts, Assouline books are works of art that capture culture and bring it to life.  The spirit and savoir-faire of these works have contributed to the creation of a unique and eclectic, chic and elegant brand that is immediately identifiable.  Today, Assouline publications are found around the globe. Assouline has a freestanding boutique in Paris (St Germain des Prés) and New York (Hotel Plaza), and in-store in Miami, Mexico, Dubai, Doha, and soon in Milan, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Toronto and San Francisco.

David Downton is a world-renowned fashion illustrator known for his portraits of model Erin O’Connor and burlesque performer Dita Von Teese (  Downton is also the founder and publisher of Pourquoi Pas? A Journal of Fashion Illustration (  His recent work was included in Victoria and Albert Museum exhibitions and their 150th Anniversary album, on the cover of 100 Years of Fashion Illustration by Cally Blackman, at stores including Browns, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Marks & Spencer, Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges, Tiffany & Co. and Topshop, in magazines such as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Harpers & Queen, L’Officiel, Tatler and Vogue, as well as in publicity material for British Academy film awards and costume drawings of Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I for Universal Pictures.

Past honorees include Rosita and Tai Missoni (1999), Oscar de la Renta (2000), Rose Marie Bravo (2001), Zandra Rhodes CBE and Koos van den Akker (2002), Josie Natori and Fern Mallis (2003), Joan Kaner and Jeremy Scott (2004), Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani (2005), Alexander McQueen, Christophe Girard, Robert Mettler and Wilkes Bashford (2006), Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE, Loulou de la Falaise, Robin Givhan and Zac Posen (2007), Ralph Rucci and James Galanos (2008).