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Celia Birtwell

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1250003065
ISBN-10: 1250003067
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Editorial Reviews


“Celia is one of the most talented textile designers ever. She’s brilliant…” ---Manolo Blahnik

About the Author

CELIA BIRTWELL is one of Britain’s best-loved textile designers. She started working with her then husband, fashion designer Ossie Clark in the 1960's and soon they were the darlings of the fashion world, collaborating on a series of hit dress collections until 1973. Celia is also a lifelong friend and muse of painter David Hockney. In 1984 she opened a shop in Notting Hill selling her home collection, which continues to operate today. In the last few years she has produced two bestselling collections for Top Shop.

DOMINIC LUTYENS is a style journalist who writes about fashion, design, interiors, and art for a range of publications including Observer Magazine, Financial Times, Elle Decoration, and Design Week. He is the coauthor with Kirsty Hislop of Seventies Style and Design.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250003067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250003065
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Millamant on November 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, it is important to note that this book is not a biography of Celia Birtwell. It contains a thumbnail sketch of her life and influences, but that's all. What it is best described as is as a retrospective of her work--and what work it is! Page after page of dazzling designs, photographs from fashion magazines, individual design sketches, photos of fabric samples and garments. It's popular these days to poke fun at the fashions and designs of the early seventies which were Celia Birtwell's artistic heyday, or to make the kitschy elements into a retro cult, but while there was certainly much then that was risible, this is the era at its absolute best--bold, experimental and ravishingly beautiful. (Why don't people use colour like this any more?) And the furnishing fabrics from the later part of Celia Birtwell's career are equally distinctive, proving her versatility and inventiveness over several decades.

There was only one thing I wasn't really happy about, and that was the paper on which the book was printed. One is used to glossy stock for this sort of work, and there were pages where this would definitely have enhanced the beauty of the illustrative content. I'll also note that some of the snapshots and magazine extracts were less than crystal clear owing to their age, and the quality of the original image, but remembering what magazine printing was like then, I could easily forgive this.

Overall, I don't think I have ever responded so viscerally to a book about a designer before--and I can't remember the last time I gave a book five stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle B. Braverman on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No doubt Celia Birtwell has been under-recognized as an important and delightful force in 60s-70s era fashion, especially in America. The fact that she is still producing, and that her work continues to look fresh and modern is a tribute to her work ethic, stamina and artistic gifts. However Celia basically found her style in repeating vaguely floral/somewhat retro patterns many years ago and has not moved very far from her niche. The repeating in this book is not just the patterns. The text makes the same points over and over-- her style was influenced by these people, her textiles were integral to Ossie Clark's designs, she was David Hockney's muse, etc. The design of the book itself is charming. It's slightly oversize and has a nice heft due to the paper (as mentioned in the previous review). It has the feel of a personal scrapbook, but in the end a little Celia goes a long way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful and surprising book. Celia's life was full and interesting. The interior layout features fun and whimsical drawings that flatter her fabric designs and clothes. You can't go wrong.
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