FRED BUTLER photographed by Annie Collinge

Dear Shaded Viewers,

photo by Mishkin

I met Fred Butler years ago when she was doing an internship with As Four and have been following her career ever since:

Orris box

DP: How did you get started?

FB: After graduating from a fashion degree, I assisted set designers and picked up the different techniques of prop making. I then started to do bits of work under my own name and combined the background with the styling by making the props wearable. Over time I have formed relationships with stylists who now commission me to make specific pieces for shoots.


DP: How do you do what you do?

FB: I never really know. But most things start with card and a glue gun; my most familiar tools!

From experience I roughly know how to start making something but its not until I start fiddling that it begins to make sense.

I never sketch, I just test materials, make maquettes and design straight away in 3D.

Tapping into a subconscious creativity in my hands is how I surprise myself.

DP: Who have been the most inspiring people that you’ve met?

FB: Without a shadow of a doubt, my friends AsFOUR and Alistair Carr who are both visionaries.

Self-sacrifice and innate passion in their work.

I am also drawn to humour and people that operate on that level and both of these have wicked sense of humour!

I also had an extremely fortunate experience earlier in the year when Bishi took me as her guest to dinner at Zandra Rhodes. We sat next to Andrew Logan who was fascinating and serene in equal measure. A perfect combination!


DP: How would you define what you do?

FB: I make little objects that fit into a fashion context.

Mostly they are sculptures to be worn but even if I make a prop for a still life, I invariably hold it up to my head and think it looks better on a head!

DP: Did your internship with As Four help to form you?

FB: It changed my life forever.

They are incredibly special people.

There is a strange aura of coincidence and fate around them that made each day feel like living in a work of fiction.

Every detail of their approach to design and life in general is so avant-garde and all-encompassing that any moment in their company is heavenly/other worldly.

I actually think that their work is so progressive that it will have a significant renaissance after their lifetime.

DP: What inspired this collection?


FB: The colour ways that occupy my mind.

Shapes and patterns that turn me on.

Scraps of materials that I have accumulated over time.

the Fortune Teller

DP: Tell me about the fortune teller?

FB: I collaborated with graphic designer Teo Connor and we knew that we wanted to make a look-book that summed up the collection as an object. Therefore it had to be tactile, intricate and fun. I work alot with origami so we played around with folds until it was obvious to use the format of this child’s toy. I love sending and receiving interesting post so mailing out a treat was also high on the agenda!


DP: Present and future projects?

FB: I am finishing off my S/S collection and waiting for the new season to start receiving prop commissions ………….
photos by Annie Collinge , snap shots by Fred



Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.