TOP 5 TEXTILE DESIGNERS
- Published:15th Jul 2016
I’m writing this blog in between frantically sorting through the finishing touches to SS17.
Searching through print after print, choosing trims and constantly editing and refining the colour palette. Everything is nearly finished and I’m itching to start the next season. I have been looking through some of my favourite textile designers for inspiration and ideas and thought I would share some of my musings with you.
The sister of author Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell was well known in her own right. Vanessa was a textile designer in the mid 1930’s who created some fabulous vintage style prints.
Vanessa started as a director of the experimental design collective, Omega workshops and in 1916 Vanessa Bell and her friend Duncan Grant moved to Charleston Farmhouse in East Sussex. The house is an artist’s dream, every wall, chair, curtains and even lampshades were designed by Vanessa, Duncan and their artist friends. They painted murals and patterns on everything transforming the old farmhouse into a complete work of art.
Charleston farmhouse is open to the public and I would strongly recommend visiting, it is a timeless magical place that beats any interior design board on pinterest hands down.
An influential textile designer in the 1950’s Lucienne Day began working for interior design company Heals before her individual breakthrough at the famous Festival of Britain in 1951.
Organised by the government to give a feeling of recovery after the war, the Festival of Britain celebrated the British contribution to the arts, science, new technology and architecture.
Lucienne Day designed the print ‘Calyx’ for the festival an abstract take on a botanical close up study which is now considered one of the most iconic designs of the 20th century. A unique statement piece.
Lucienne was greatly influenced by the ‘Atomic age’, she was interested in the future and took inspiration from science and botany for her designs.
Lucienne had the progressive view that modern and good design could improve social conditions, and praised mass production for giving good design to the masses.
3. CELIA BIRTWELL
Celia Birtwell is the most fashion oriented print designers in this series, in the past 10 years she continues to trail blaze designing for TOPSHOP, UNIQLO, John Lewis and Maison Valentino.
Celia Birtwell moved to London in 1961 after studying textiles near her home in Salford.
Her first jobs in London were working at the Royal Shakespeare company firstly as a wig dresser and then a costumier. Ossie Clark (her future husband) moved in with her and they began working together, Celia designing prints and Ossie designing clothes.
They were the late 60’s dream fashion duo dressing Mick and Bianca Jagger, and Marianne Faithfull among many others.
Sadly, in the early 70’s Celia and Ossie divorced. Celia moved to LA to be a paid muse for painter David Hockney and after this carried on designing textiles for interiors and homeware producing infamous and iconic prints.
Celia Birtwell’s prints are fun, whimsical and full of life and she continues to inspire and reinvent to this day.
Slightly veering off the track of single female textile designers, Marimekko is a Finnish home furnishings, textiles and fashion company, famous for its bright bold and in the best possible way, childish prints and designs.
The two designers to mention when speaking of the design success of Marimekko is Vuokko Nurmesniemi and Maija Isola. Vuokko designed probably the most famous designs of Marimekko; the Jokapoika shirt. Its simple brush stroke line print has been produced since 1953 and you can still buy it today.
Maija Isola is seen as being the most influential and pinnacle designer at Marimekko designing bold oversized floral prints including the classic Poppy print and Primavera. Maija designed over 500 prints in her time at Marimekko leaving her daughter who started working there aged 18 to carry on the family name at the company.
5. ZIKA ASCHER
Born in 1910, Zika Ascher was a Czech artist, and designer, eventually becoming famous in the textiles and fashion worlds. Zika Ascher set up his own print company and made his name designing scarves and fabrics with contemporary artists.
He introduced his Artist’s Squares’ collection between 1946-55 and included designs from artists such as Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Cecil Beaton who actually designed 4 scarves unlike the others who only designed 1.
Ascher also provided textiles to many of the Haute Couturiers such as Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent. As well as this he was a pioneer for introducing hand tufted mohair into couture in 1956’ and in 69’ introduced a disposable paper like fabric which was then made into a famous mini-dress by Ossie Clark (who I have previously talked of!). Zika Ascher was a pioneer for the textile world and his Artist’ Squares still circulate in auction houses today.
So back to designing for me for now! Tune in next week for another wander through the Alice's Pig teams thoughts....
If you want even more textile designers, try our other blog Top 5 Artist textiles...
Love Alice's Pig xxxx
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