This March, for Dries Van Noten’s autumn/winter 2016 show, Gill Button had the prestigious task of hand-painting the invites – all 1,200 of them.  The labour of love took the illustrator/artist four full days to complete. “Yes, when the big box of invites turned up, it was daunting,” she says. “But when I finished, I felt like I’d just got into the swing of it and wanted to carry on!”

Like many others, Van Noten discovered Button’s work through Instagram, where she now has 61.7K followers (her handle is @buttonfruit). Button says the platform has been “hugely important" to her lately, providing a forum for her to showcase her striking oil-on-canvas portraits of fashion figures including Hedi Slimane, Anna Wintour and Simone Rocha, as well as her paintings and fashion illustrations.


Button’s illustrations use confident brushstrokes and bold colours to capture the essence of her subjects. “The two main ways I paint are in oil and ink – the oil portraits tend to be more gritty and the ink pieces more dreamlike,” she tells us. “I primarily look at works by painters and photographers including Matisse, Louise Bourgeois and Diane Arbus.”

After getting a bachelor’s degree in illustration from Kingston University in 1995, Button has gone on to one high-profile project after another, collaborating with Vanity Fair, The Times and the Fashion Illustration Gallery, among others. Late last year, she was commissioned by Gucci to work on its digital Instagram campaign and has been one of the standout artists involved in the project. 


We asked the illustrator what she’ll be seeing and where she will be going this week.

Institute of Contemporary Arts


I love to watch films at the ICA and this week is particularly exciting as they are screening the new film Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures. I’ve long been a huge admirer of Mapplethorpe’s photography – a combination of absolute beauty and power. So this looks like an amazing opportunity to find out more about the man himself.

St James’ Park


Across the road from the ICA, you have the magic of St James’ Park. It’s such a beautiful place to just sit and relax. I especially love spending time outside this time of year – the beginning of summer in London has such a special buzz about it.

Tate Britain


The Painting with Light exhibition opens this week at Tate Britain. They’ve been teasing us with Rossetti’s painting Proserpine for a while now, so I seriously can’t wait to see this show.

I love taking the boat along the Thames to go from one Tate to the other – there’s always something amazing to see at Tate Modern and one of my absolute pleasures is the Members Room. Sitting in a comfy chair with a flat white, gazing over to St Paul’s is a perfect way to rest weary feet from walking around the gallery!

Borough Market


A lovely little walk along the Thames from the Tate and we’re in Borough Market. As an Indian food-loving vegetarian, this is a little slice of heaven to me. Seeing those gigantic cooking pans full of colour, with the aromas wafting in the air – yum. The stall selling a zillion varieties of fudge is pretty sweet too and I love any stall cooking chana dal.

Brick Lane


I’m a bit of a bric-a-brac and vintage shopper. I like to wander around Brick Lane to hunt for treasures. You can still even find the odd bargain in the stalls down some of the side roads. 

Interview by Jainnie Cho