27 Dec 2019
London’s Fashion and Textile Museum has announced that its feature exhibition in 2020 will be a celebration of 50 years of Designers Guild, an influential design company whose products have changed the way consumers view “colour, pattern and texture” in their homes.
The ‘Out of the Blue: Fifty Years of Designers Guild’ exhibition opens on February 14, 2020, and will explore Designers Guild founder Tricia Guild’s “unique and creative approach,” focussing in on her inspiration, her intuitive design methodology and the techniques, processes and materials used, explains the Fashion and Textile Museum.
Designers Guild was founded in 1970 as a single shop on the King’s Road, born out of a frustration with the lack of contemporary fabrics and wallpapers for interiors, and now, thanks to Tricia Guild’s vision to create a lifestyle, by showing how to put the different elements of a room together, using colour, pattern, texture and form, the Designers Guild has developed it into an authoritative voice and global enterprise.
Juxtapositions are key to Tricia Guild’s style, explains the museum, however, what has remained consistent is the boldness with which she brings together patterns, colours and materials to striking effect. Remaining true to this vision and her initial philosophy is what keeps her company’s work relevant.
The Designers Guild is also continuing to reinvent itself, it has collaborated with fashion names including Ralph Lauren and Christian Lacroix, artists Howard Hodgkin and Kaffe Fassett, and more recently a collection inspired by unique access to the private Royal households. Juxtaposing different elements and influences, the Designers Guild style has remained original and confident - creating a multitude of inspirational shades, designs, patterns and textures that continue to influence interior design both in the UK and beyond.
In the exhibition, visitors will be able to see first-hand where Tricia’s inspiration comes from, her travels to India, Japan, and Scandinavia and how this is translated into collections of fabrics, wallpaper, furniture and accessories.
“Her inspiration may come from ancient Indian textiles, Renaissance-style velvet or a Swedish Gustavian wall treatment, but the resulting interiors are never drawn solely from one traveller’s tale and are never just a reworking of an old document. Instead, each is an eclectic amalgam in which a harmony exists between East and West, present and past,” states the Fashion and Textile Museum.
Designers Guild is perhaps best known for florals and botanicals, but plain fabrics in a multitude of shades and textures, alongside a vast range of geometric and abstract designs, are also vital to the mix, and the exhibition will showcase the variety and constant re-invention that is central to the ethos of Designers Guild.
This will be highlighted alongside the techniques and processes vital for making these collections happen, from how the company has explored various printing methods in the quest for innovation, from hand block printing in the early days, to rotary screen-printing and most recently digital printing.
Visitors will also see how traditional methods of production, from cut velvets and embroidered brocades, to flocking on fabric and paper have been re-discovered. Designers Guild has re-worked these skills in a bid to create something new and of the moment, yet still infused with the integrity of age-old techniques.
The Fashion and Textile Museum has been given unique access to the Designers Guild’s archive, and the exhibition will feature never before displayed original designs and art work, as well as the story of Designers Guild in settings that “capture the changing tastes in interiors" over the past five decades, and chart the transformation of Tricia Guild, from an ambitious young woman in business, to the influential creative force behind a global brand.
The Fashion and Textile Museum has previously placed a spotlight on Zandra Rhodes, Anna Sui, Gudrun Sjödén, and Missoni.
‘Out of the Blue: Fifty Years of Designers Guild will run from February 14 to June 14, 2020.
Images: courtesy of the Fashion and Textile Museum/Designers Guild