Manchester style guru Richard Creme finds inspiration through art

PUBLISHED: 14:09 08 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:01 20 February 2013

One of Richard’s paintings inspired by letters at his shop

One of Richard’s paintings inspired by letters at his shop

Richard Creme from Hale was a striking presence on Manchester's fashion scene until illness struck. He found a new outlet through art Words BY JANET REEDER

Richard Creme was Manchesters style guru. So when his shop on Bridge Street in the city centre suddenly closed five years ago, everyone was asking: where is Richard Creme?

The truth is, the man who had clothed the likes of David Beckham, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie had been forced to quit retailing after suffering a massive stroke which left him unable to speak and hardly write.

Hed cut a dashing figure in his chic boutique selling labels like Yohji Yamamoto, Ann Demeulemeester and Dirk Bikkembergs. Easily the tallest man in Manchester, his long hair and striking style added to his flamboyant image. To hear he had been so cruelly felled, aged 50, was quite shocking.

In November 2007, Richard had gone into hospital for a routine gallbladder operation.

Richards wife, Shelley, who speaks on behalf of and for her husband said the surgery went well but their ordeal was just beginning:

I got a call saying Richard had had a turn. Hed had a massive blood clot on his brain. He was in intensive care for a week. He left with weakness down one side and aphasia which meant he could not speak.

Richard and Shelley, who live in Hale, say if it wasnt for the Stroke Association things could have been so much worse. When they joined the Communication Support Service in Trafford, they could see no way forward.

But Richard has reinvented himself as an artist. It is a remarkable turnaround that the couple now see as a new chapter of their difficult journey.

Richard came out of hospital and he started drawing just with an ink pen with his left hand, Shelley recalls.

He was quite secretive about it. Then I saw the pieces he had drawn and couldnt believe what I was seeing. They were just so good.

Richard now has a portfolio of work that includes striking images of people hes known in the past, including Rio Ferdinand and David Beckham, his beloved Shelley and self portraits.

There are abstract images, headless bodies and images in washed out grey of Norman Parkinson, the celebrated photographer who Richard once commissioned to shoot his Lhomme brochure.

Said Parkinson: I was fascinated by that fellow called Creme. I so liked his attitude that I said I would do this one.

The Stroke Association recognised Richards talent and went on to help him pursue art as an outlet for his creativity, holding an exhibition of his works at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Richard continues to support the Stroke Association and there are plans for further exhibitions and events.

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