Friday, March 12, 2010

John Lewis Changes Its Spots

Shoppers at John Lewis, watch out! Celia Birtwell's new collection for the store is to be launched on its first floor next week.

I've been a fanatic of Celia's original designs for decades. I'm not the only one. I was a witness when Karl Lagerfeld announced she is the best textile designer in the fashion industry.

I 'revered' Celia's unique prints which adorned her then husband, Ossie Clark's clothes, and was eternally grateful to her during my party going gossip days in the late Seventies.

After I was forced to change into an evening gown behind a tree at the Berkeley Square ball, as I hadn't had time to go home and change, she designed a costume especially for me. It was a black and white reversible costume with a Cocteau-esque print, which was suitable for night or day. If it hadn't rotted from prolonged over use, I would still be wearing it day and night today.

When Celia invited me round to her house this afternoon to ogle her new John Lewis collection, I raced over for an exclusive preview. The experience was much more civilised than when I lined up at dawn alongside the greedy hoards outside Topshop, who fought and killed to buy her stuff, all of which sold out completely in the first five minutes.

I have no idea how Celia dreams up the names for her colourful clothes. There were (reasonably priced)  "Pussybow Cherry Spott" silk dresses, "Cherry Spot" print dresses, "Romania Dancer" and "Romanian Spot frocks" galore (I love the title for her old classic 'animal beastie' print the best). I adored the "Cherry Spot" Smock blouses and the "Pussy bow" silk dresses, but best of all I craved a pale eau de-nil printed silk blouse, which I would take good care of in case the Victoria and Albert museum needs it for one of their future exhibitions.
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