Did you see our previous post of the video about Celia Birtwell’s collaboration with Valentino? Here’s the promised second post with our exclusive interview with Celia about her work with Valentino. If you don’t know as much as you should about Celia Birtwell and her impact on the worlds of fashion and art, you can read more here on her website.
Blink: How did the collaboration with Valentino come about?
Celia Birtwell: One Monday morning last autumn we got a phone call from the a lady at Valentino who said the creative directors had seen my book would like to discuss the possibility of a commission or collaboration. It was Bella, my partner and daughter in law who took the call and being early on a Monday morning and totally out of the blue she struggled to understand the request – she thought perhaps they had seen one of fabric books and wanted to order some fabric for their offices (which often happens).
Only later when we received the request via email did we understand that they had seen my retrospective book and based on the strength of the visuals they wanted to come and meet us to discuss a collaboration. Within a couple of weeks we met the delightful Maria Grazia and Pierpaolo and the rest is history…
Blink: with which collection did it start and is the collaboration ongoing?
Celia Birtwell: MG (Maria Grazia) and PP (Pierpaolo) had a very clear idea of what they wanted from me. They wanted to me to redesign Botticelli’s Primavera for their women’s Pre Fall 2015 collection. Time was tight but the brief was absolutely perfect as I adore the painting and I spent fifty years painting flowers.
I was then asked to design a cosmos print, a dragon, butterflies and more florals for the AW15 collection which was shown at Paris Fashion week in March. I’ve always drawn stars but I have avoided butterflies and never come across the need to design a dragon so I found this brief far more challenging. The result was my “Funky Dragon” which appears on dresses, leather jackets and parkas as well as some menswear for spring 15. It is fun and surprising to see how they use my designs in all their wonderful ways. The craftsmanship is second to none.
I think my favourites are the Primavera florals although I have seen them a lot now so look forward to seeing the other designs come to life this autumn.
Thank you so much Celia and Bella. Here are some of our favourites of Celia’s work with Valentino, including that gorgeous “Funky Dragon”.
Thanks also to Karla Otto for some of the imagery. For more fashion pattern inspiration posts, take a look here.