Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sex, Drugs and Textile Design

Fashion designer Ossie Clark and wife Celia Birtwell photographed in London, 1971.

Celia Birtwell first became famous in late 60's London after her lending her hand-printed fabrics to husband Ossie Clark's fashion designs. What resulted was the birth of the modern catwalk show and an impressive rock star following. Clients of the partnership included the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Paloma Picasso and David Hockney, to whom she would serve as a muse for years following.

The swinging, hedonistic lifestyle eventually caught up with pair and they divorced in the mid-seventies. After the tumultuous marriage ended, Birtwell turned away from fashion and focused on the "less manic" world of interior fabrics, opening her home design shop in Notting Hill in 1984. This past fall, the Celia Birtwell's line of 60's inspired textiles and home furnishings became available at the L.A. showroom of Suzan Fellman.

An older and wiser Celia Birtwell at the the Suzan Fellman Showroom in Los Angeles. Wingback chairs upholstered in Birtwell's "Howard" linen. (Photographed for Vanity Fair).

Pillows in Celia Birtwell's "Imagine" pattern

David Hockney poses with his muse in front of his 1971 painting, "Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy", a portrait of Celia Birtwell with her former husband Ossie Clark. The painting, rich with symbolism, is one of the most visited at the Tate Gallery in London.

As Beach Bungalow 8 posted back in September, Birtwell designed a line of vintage garments for Topshop. The collection of roughly 1,000 pieces sold out of the English chain store in a record 6 minutes.

To view Celia Birtwell's complete home textile collection, visit her website.

13 comments:

The Peak of Chic said...

Fantastic post!!! I love her "Imagine" print!

Habitually Chic said...

Ha! I was totally going to write about her too after I saw that photo in Vanity Fair! Great and interesting post!

Cote de Texas said...

There's this cheap fabric shop here that has had rolls of one of her fabrics - a girl's face is on it - and I've wanted to get a client to use it for a girl's bedroom. Dirt cheap!!! Now with the renewed publicity, who knows? :)

day at a glance said...

love your post! what a cool chick!

Style Court said...

Millie, you put this together really well. Six minutes, imagine!

Jessica said...

Love that imagine pillow a lot...thanks for the little insight.

http://www.theshinysquirrel.com

pve design said...

A designer after my own heart! Gotta love her and her imagination. Thanks for giving us a brilliant glimpse! Might I add your blog to my blog envy list?

michelle said...

Oh wow, great post, I saw some of her work in a magazine a kajillion years ago, and I see it all the time, brilliant lady

Brilliant Asylum said...

Hi--thanks for all of the comments. Celia Birtwell has quite a story!

Cote de Texas, I think that pattern with the girl's face is Isabelle or Isabella. She has a couple that would be really fun in a girl's bedroom.

PVE, thanks for the link. I just added yours!

ALL THE BEST said...

Great post. I almost did a post on Celia Birtwell and the "Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy" painting a few months back...nice job!!

dianamuse said...

Oh, this is such fun! Love the then-and-now stories of those who lived hard in the 60s & 70s. Reminds me of a Pattie Boyd piece (on the telly) that I enjoyed a few months back.

frances said...

i want "sex drugs and textile design" to be the title of my autobiography!

Abdullah Home Textile said...

I wonder is there any relation in sex drugs and textile. There may be but post is good. I like it.