The Fabric Prints of the Present (and Past!)

Posted on February 28, 2014 by Liz

Heal’s has a long and prominent history of discovering and nurturing creative talent. Back in the 1950s, the company was responsible for championing fabric designs by emerging designers of the time including Lucienne Day, Zandra Rhodes and Barbara Brown. So it is extremely exciting to hear that they have just produced an exclusive own-brand fabric collection, the first since the 1970s. As expected, they have worked with both established designers, including Rhodes, and also those who are lesser known. Each designer has created a unique pattern for Heal’s, resulting in a striking collection that celebrates both colour and individuality, drawing inspiration from fabric archives, decorative arts, nature and even jewellery.

Paul Vogel, Milo’s Stripe

Pia Benham, Heal’s Head of Fabric & Design comments: “As part of the relaunch of Heal’s historic fabric department, we wanted to extend our current fabric offering. We hope the new collection will help further strengthen our fabric department’s position as the destination for unique and exciting designs, a place that can inspire our customers and enable them to make their homes a beautiful place to live in. We also wanted to inject fun and excitement into our Heal’s fabric design once again, by working with established as well as emerging designers – in the same way we did in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Heal’s Journal with Peacock Flower print, Malika Favre

Also coinciding with the fabric collection launch comes a coordinating home accessory line, Heal’s 1810 – named after the year in which they were first established. This series features selected patterns from the new fabric range giving the opportunity for them to be appreciated in multiple ways throughout their customers’ living spaces. The accessories include kitchen textiles such as aprons, oven gloves and tea towels, as well furnishings such as cushions. It also includes stationary, for example cute journals that can be flaunted with pride outside of the home!

Zandra Rhodes, Top Brass 2

Onto the prints, of which there are an extensive and fabulous amount. Zandra Rhodes’ Top Brass 2 makes a return, having originally been designed for Heal’s in 1963. A reminder of the Pop Art period of the time, it has the designer’s signature pink colour palette with a medal motif inspired by a David Hockney painting. Another return is the late Diana Bloomfield’s Tea Time, which truly reflects the 1950s period in which it was first designed. Introduced with the help of Bloomfield’s daughter Julia, Tea Time has a retro style but the playful print allows for a modern feel. It is thought to be inspired by the illustrated cakes and jellies of Isabella Beeton’s Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management.

Heal’s Tray with Tea Time Print, Diana Bloomfield

Cressida Bell’s Trees is heavily influenced by the 1930s and 1940s, taking inspiration from illustrators of the period such as Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden. Including rich colours and detailed pattern, it can clearly be seen that her design motto is ‘more is more’! Another bold print, Malika Favre’s geometric style Peacock Flower uses the form of the bird as the basis for her abstract pattern, having seen one wandering around her hotel on a recent trip to the French Riviera!

Cressida Bell, Trees

A simpler, but still extremely effective pattern is Paul Vogel’s Stripe series. This was inspired by Heal’s own archives but adapted using this Spring’s colour trends and by playing with proportions. Emily Patrick’s Cloud is based on one of her paintings, breaking down the barrier between outside and inside. Ottilie Stevenson looked to Art Deco jewellery to create the crisp geometrics of Zig Zag while Petra Börner’s Lady Jane is designed to resemble a scattered bouquet of rough cuts from the garden. Finally, a distinctively Scandinavian design from Hvass & Hannibal. Herbarium uses the forest as its main theme, with an illustrative and folkloristic style depicting plants, flowers and trees.

Hvass & Hannibal, Herbarium

The collection offers a style to suit every taste and is an amazing reflection of Heal’s, of its inspiring past and also of the current brand that we have grown to know and love. It really offers something for everyone, especially with the 1810 line and after thirty years, we at WIN believe the collection is a long-awaited triumph!