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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Celia Birtwell by Celia Birtwell

Celia Birtwell

Celia Birtwell is one of Britain's best-known, best-loved designers. She is an iconic figure on the global arts scene. This lavish, multi-layered book - the first to be published on Celia - delves into her work and eventful life. The book conjures up all the personal warmth and visual intricacy of a family scrapbook: it features intimate photographs of Celia, her family and friends from her own albums and archive, her drawings, her charmingly idiosyncratic, fashion sketches and a multitude of examples of her fashion and home fabrics. Her bohemian lifestyle in the 60s and 70s, which saw her hanging out with such colourful personalities as Manolo Blahnik, the Beatles, Mick and Bianca Jagger and Paloma Picasso, is brought to life through stylish photographs from the time. Her ongoing relationship with Hockney both as friend and muse, is illustrated by his personal photographs, drawings and paintings of her, including the sketches that led to Mr & Mrs Clark and Percy, recently voted one of the nation's favourite paintings. Celia's renaissance in the Noughties has seen two sell-out collections of frocks for TopShop as well as a plethora of her prints on a wide variety of items.

I had never heard of Celia Birtwell before looking at this book (hangs head in shame). She is a very well known British designer and an icon on global arts scene. One thing I learnt from the book is that in David Hockney's famous picture, 'Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy@, Celia Birtwell is Mrs Clark!

This is a beautiful coffee table book which would be a great gift for lovers of Birtwell. It is a biography of her life but also an insight into her designing. There are many of Celia's hand drawn sketches included within the book along with many photographs of the clothing ranges designed by Celia throughout her career.

This book could be a gift for Celia Birtwell fans of any age but I would also recommend it as the perfect gift for fashion design students as inspiration or a great record of history from one iconic designer.

Thank you to Quadrille for sending me the book to review.

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