Artist and bona fide Instagram star Donald Robertson’s latest venture — a children’s book set in the fashion world — wasn’t his idea.
“My wife had had it,” says the fashion industry vet, who had previously worked as a creative director at beauty giant Estee Lauder. “She was like, ‘Enough “likes”; try to do something that is tangible. I want sales. I don’t want “likes” — I want sales.’”
The result: “Mitford at the Fashion Zoo,” a book based on Robertson’s wildly popular Instagram posts starring a giraffe who works for a powerful magazine-editor panda, who bears a striking resemblance to Anna Wintour.
While the father of five has recently traded the hustle of New York for the palm trees of Los Angeles, he is currently painting the Big Apple in his signature gaffer-tape-covered pop art as the subject of concept store STORY.
We caught up with Robertson to find out what he reads to his kids (the real stars of his feed) and what the Vogue editrix has to say about that cameo.
Why a giraffe?
I was just bored at work doodling, and I was imaging what it would be like if you had animal interns. I just like giraffes, they’re cool. I like the shape of their heads.
What books do you read to your kids?
We are all over the place. But we really like “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” — that one is a classic. I love “Madeline” and “Corduroy.” They are books that you can tell were done by painters.
Have you gotten feedback from Anna Wintour?
No, but the most important thing is that I’ve not heard from her lawyers. So I would say that’s positive feedback — I mean, there’s still time. She inspired a character in the book but I always make her seem cool. I just love how insanely consistent she is. It’s completely flattering.
What’s the most fun thing at STORY?
The most awesome thing about this collaboration is the high/lowness of it. So it’s everything from coasters and mugs — which I never thought I’d do — to Rolex watches and surfboards. There’s very much a community feeling in Rachel [Shechtman’s] store, and it’s really important to her that we had stuff that everyone could afford.