Moving from Manchester to hip Notting Hill, London in 1961, a 20-year-old Celia Birtwell spent much of her time with fellow creatives. Her first break came designing furnishing fabrics for Heal’s, but her first step on to the path that made her famous was when Alice Pollock, owner of London boutique Quorum, commissioned Birtwell and then partner Ossie Clark to design a dress fabric collection. It was not long after that Celia and Ossie were in high demand by the social elite including the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Twiggy. Having a booming fashion career in the 60s and early 70s her career slowed down thereafter.
However, Birtwell’s career and the public’s interest in her work has had a recent renaissance. Since 2006 she has produced sell-out garments for Top Shop, won multiple awards, and even garnered a CBE in recognition of her services to the fashion industry. Birtwell’s fabrics are detailed, exciting and romantic, drawing inspiration from fine art and the classical world. Her work helped define a generation and her influence is echoed throughout the whole of the fashion industry. A recent book documenting Celia Birtwell’s eventful life and career is available on amazon and is possibly the best source should you want to find out more about her.