What can I say about style leader and textile designer Celia Birtwell that hasn't been said before? She was designer Ossie Clark's wife and designed textiles for his collections in the 1960s and 1970s and has had a lifelong friendship with artist David Hockney and some of his most memorable work is of her. Below is Hockney's painting of Celia and Ossie: Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy.
As her website says: "From 1967 to 1973 Celia and Ossie were the toast of the fashion industry and dressed everyone from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix, Paloma Picasso, Talitha Getty, Patty Boyd, Twiggy and Marianne Faithful all the way to the British Aristocracy."
I have personally worn and collected Ossie Clark dresses for many years and have been a longtime fan of Celia's prints so when I got the chance to meet her yesterday it was a vintage dream come true. I arrived promptly at 6pm at her interiors shop on Westbourne Park Road in Notting Hill where she was doing a book signing - the first book about her life titled Celia Birtwell has just been published. I will blog a review when I have read it.
I was greeted by the delightful Bella (her daughter-in-law) who offered me a glass of Champagne. My first surprise was that Celia sounds like the Queen. I am not sure how I expected her to sound but many other Sixties icons whom I have met always have a faux-cockney twang (Bailey, Jagger, Twiggy).
Celia and I last night (below).
We had the most wonderful chat about textiles, vintage clothes and more. She wanted to know how big my collection was and when I explained we had moved in order to house it all she gave me a knowing look...at the risk of sounding mad/like a stalker I now want to be Celia's new best friend. I will be meeting her again soon for a longer interview for a magazine so once that is published I will then put the highlights on here in a future blog.
Some images I took of her shop last night (below).
I must also mention that last week Celia was awarded a CBE for services to the fashion industry by Queen Elizabeth II during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace....about time too.
What an amazing year she has had with turning 70, releasing a book and being awarded the CBE. Here's to many more wonderful years of Celia producing original and exciting prints. They say you should never meet your hero but on this occasion I am jolly pleased I did. Plus of course she personally signed my copy of her book...no one in my house is allowed to pick it up now unless wearing gloves...
Love Lovely x