I don’t know if you have noticed the Japanese company Uniqlo, but apart from having a difficult to pronounce name, they have been producing some great collections of clothing, featuring some of the world’s greatest designers. And the best thing of all, is that all the collaborations with Uniqlo are a fraction of the price that these designers would normally cost you in a high street store.
The latest iconic designer to be wooed over to the eastern side is 60’s and 70’s favourite Celia Birtwell, who has collaborated with stores such as Topshop in the past. The 71 year old showed that she still has what it takes to be current and valid in today’s fashion scene, as she took some of her more famous signature prints and patterns and reworked them for an exclusive range for the Japanese firm.
Celia said of her new partnership with Uniqlo: “I am feeling very confident and I don’t normally say that but it looks very good,’ she added: “Most things in my life just come along. There was interest a couple of years ago but I was very well looked after this time and it really grew into something. I flew to Japan and we selected several prints, particularly from my home collection, which I never thought you could use but I am surprised and delighted with everything.”
Celia began her career in the mid 60’s where she and Ossie Clark, her husband at the time, practically reinvented style with their bold take on prints and textiles. They are even credited with formulating the very first modern-day catwalks, as they paraded models wearing their clothes to music down a walkway. Their marriage may have ended in the 70’s but both designers went on to achieve more success, and Celia spent some time designing for Radley, before relaunching herself in a series of new modern collections for Topshop.
Her iconic prints and patterns are as recognisable as those of Orla Kiely, Laura Ashley and William Morris. And now they have been re-imagined and re-coloured into a range which includes tote bags, T-shirts, tunic vests, shirts, jeggings, pyjama pants, and even culottes.
The capsule collection will be officially available to buy on March 21, but Uniqlo revealed some of her iconic collection a little ahead of schedule.
Celia is not the first celebrity designer to work with Uniqlo; Lula Guinness, Orla Kiely and Laura Ashley have all worked with the Japanese brand, most recently Orla Kiely designed a thermal range that used her signature leaf prints as a regular pattern across the collection.
In a statement to the MailOnline, she said that she was chosen for her ability ‘to combine the traditional sensitivity toward prints with a contemporary, modern and unique twist’.
This may not be the last time that she works with an Japanese company, as she described them as ‘very supportive and extremely nice to work with.’ She added: “I have always liked Oriental designs and they are close to my heart so really inspired me.” And although most 71 years are considering what to do with their retirements, it appears that she has no such plans as yet: “I have nothing set in stone but I have a few ideas of what I want to do. It keeps me busy and that’s why I like it.”
The Spring Summer 2013 Celia Birtwell collection will be available online from March 21.
All pictures Courtesy Uniqlo.