Art Artist Collaborations Lifestyle
Domenica More Gordon for Drake's
Jul 13, 2022
Domenica More Gordon, creator of the Archie books, introduces Gentleman Dog - a canine creation drawn up expressly for us, in true Drake's style.
I have always admired men’s clothes - they seem practical, well made and comfortable… they have good pockets in all the right places - perfect for small sketchbooks and pencils. When I came across Drake’s on Instagram I was a natural follower. They combine tradition with a contemporary flair, a classic look with a style and quality which I love. It seemed a natural fit that Drake’s should have their own version of my character Archie, and so the idea of Gentleman Dog and his friend, was born.
It was only after I had my children that I really began to draw and create full time. Before that I had been a full-on denizen of the magazine world. With the arrival of the children my world slowed down and I could think different thoughts. I began to read to my children the books I’d loved as a child, Orlando the Cat, Ant and Bee, all things Moomintroll, and the grandmaster of adventure, world-creation and genius characters, Hergé.
I thought I too could do a children’s book. I could fit it in between school runs, cooking and all the other domestic demands my time seemed to be full of. How hard could that be? It turns out that it’s very hard. It was only after some years of on-again-off-again inner wrestling and effort that ‘Archie’ finally appeared, and when he did he took only three days to draw, without a single misstep, from start to finish… I couldn’t quite believe it.
I had been so focused on finding a story, at looking what other people had done, that I hadn't seen what was right under my nose all the time. It was only when I allowed my inspiration to come from my own experiences, and memories of golden times I had spent with my grandparents that I really let things flow, and the whole book appeared in one. I had forgotten, until my aunt reminded me, that my grandfather had written me letters as if from his dog, a terrier we both adored and to whom I would send illustrated responses. She gave me an envelope she had saved with some of these drawings, and there was Archie.
I realised that the mackintosh which Archie wears was the one which used to hang in a passage at the back of my grandparents’ house, and every time I passed it I would bury my nose in it…it was a classic mac from the ‘30s and smelt delicious. Archie’s sewing skills and sewing machine came from my aunt and mother. His wardrobe: flannel trousers, braces and a checked shirt are from my grandfather, and if you could smell him, he’d smell of Bay Rum.
When Archie’s in the Outer Hebrides - a favourite place for him to visit - he wears Fair Isles, tweeds and a felt hat. The Fair Isle passion he shares with my father, whose Fair Isle collection I have inherited. Archie is also a huge John Buchan fan, and I like to feel he gets his passion for The 39 Steps from me.
I like to think that all my dead relations would like Drake’s as much as I do. I know for certain that Archie does because he told me so.