349 Hagley Road
B17 8DL

0121 420 3977

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349 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B17 8DL

tel: 0121 420 3977

Image courtesy of Celia Birtwell and Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection'. Fashion Image 'Copyright to Celia Birtwell'.

Fresh as a daisy

Celia Birtwell & Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection'. Copyright to Celia Birthwell 2019

‘Copyright to Celia Birtwell 2019’

Celia Birtwell & Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection' - Bella Acacia

Celia Birtwell & Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection' - Bella Acacia (Close up)

Celia Birtwell & Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection' - Blue Red Cushions

Celia Birtwell & Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection'

Celia Birtwell & Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection' - Bed coverings

Celia Birtwell & Blendworth 'Bazaar Collection'

Well, spring has finally sprung – or at least it had when I was writing this – and even with the dog’s dinner going on at Westminster things are looking brighter. Perfect timing for a new collection of the loveliest “brighten up your life and give you a constant smile” fabrics to land in our showroom. I’m talking about Bazaar, the new collaboration between Celia Birtwell and Blendworth.

For the uninitiated, Celia Birtwell CBE is a British textile designer and a bit of an icon. Born in 1941, her career blossomed in the 1960s and 70s, and has endured all the way through to the 21st century and modern day. She’s well known for bright, bold, feminine prints that take inspiration from the likes of Matisse and Picasso, as well as from the classical world. Since 1968 she has been a muse of the painter David Hockney, and features in several of his paintings including Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy (1970-71) – one of his most celebrated paintings, and one of the most viewed in the Tate Britain gallery.

Celia has designed for high-end fashion labels such as Radley, Valentino and French fashion house Cacharel, as well as high street brands such as Top Shop, Millets, and John Lewis. She also set up her own shop in Bayswater for a time, selling fabrics for the home. These fabrics can be seen across many homes, hotels, and public spaces – including Claridge’s and The Lanesborough hotels in London, The Grand Hotel in Leeds, and Dubai’s Hilton.

Founded as a wholesale furnishing fabric company on Regent Street, London and originally known as Sixten and Cassey, Blendworth was established in 1921 by Sixten Haymen and Sidney Cassey. Those of you of a certain age will remember well the ubiquitous sateen prints of birds and trees that graced many a living room in the late 80s, as either curtains, upholstery, or – as was perfectly acceptable in those days – both ! This was Blendworth at their most mainstream, and probably most popular – I used to sell it by the mile !!!

Working closely with Celia, the Blendworth design team have reimagined a number of her original illustrations into patterns that are perfect for a variety of uses within the interior, from curtains and blinds, through headboards to upholstered furniture. The collection also contains one brand new, bespoke pattern that has been hand painted by Celia herself – now exclusive to Blendworth. What works well for fashion design, doesn’t necessarily translate well for interiors, so the process of selecting patterns for this collection involved reworking the scales and repeats. Part of Bazaar’s charm is that it maintains the integrity of Celia’s original designs, while adding in Blendworth’s technical know-how and quality.

The new pattern I mentioned earlier is called Bella, and draws its inspiration from a dress print of Celia’s from the 70s. A delightful floral print arranged in cascading groups, it’s available in 4 colourways, 1 of which is soft and muted, while the other 3 are strong and punchy. My personal favourite, and one I could happily come down to breakfast to each morning, is Acacia – rich reds and greens on a warm and sunny yellow background.

The other 2 fabulous florals in the collection are Tulip Reign and Jungle Gardenia. Tulip Reign, with its colourful, flowing petals and leaves, was originally printed on chiffon for dresses - back when Celia was partnered with Ossie Clark. The design was featured in British Vogue in 1972. Jungle Gardenia is a reworking of a previous design of Celia’s entitled Pretty Woman, and provides a wider repeat compared with Bella - meaning it can work well as a backing when the two are used in conjunction.

An accompaniment intended to sit with Bazaar’s floral designs, Rialto is an amalgamation of Celia’s previous stripe designs. The uniformity of traditional stripes is broken down by the geometric repeats, creating light and jolly pattern, with an air of casual embroidery or applique.

The final fabric is called Paws, and is a modern take on an animal print, inspired by one of Celia’s former designs called Cat Face. The resulting pattern is taken from the background of the original, and presented as an all-over texture. It’s a great foil to the florals, as well as being a bit of fun in its own right.

So, if you fancy an injection of joie de vivre into your home this spring, come and check out this collection – you won’t be sorry.

John Biddell, John Charles Interiors

Live 24 7 magazine editorial - April 2019

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