Lucienne Day

by Grace Bonney

Continuing on from yesterday’s post on the pattern designs of Mina Perhonen, I thought I would make a bit of a jump in time and tone! Today I will be focusing on the work of Lucienne Day – a mid-century textile designer who, along with her husband Robin Day, were the British answer to uber design couple Charles and Ray Eames!

She was born in 1917, and married Robin in 1942, and their work tied in perfectly with the post-war desire for new and exciting design after an age of austerity. Simplistic, abstract and bold forms, teamed with her eye for unusual color combinations all quickly catapulted her to cult design status. She even collaborated with THE interiors shop of the day, Heals {of London}, and their relationship continues to this day as she produced many design exclusively for them.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Abigail’s Lucienne Day post!

In recent years, Luciennes fabrics have been brought to a new and younger audience through a collaboration a few years ago with Converse. Although no longer on wide release, pairs of these gorgeous patterned sneakers can still be hunted down through a few online stores!

Several years ago, Lucienne Day hand selected twelve of her pattern designs from her portfolio to be re-released and revived through Classic Textiles housed in the Studio for Advanced Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art. These fabrics are now being digitally printed to order on a gorgeously heavy cotton/linen fabric which is perfect for interior use. I recently bought a small piece of her Larch pattern which I plan to turn into a small cushion soon!

Although not even close to my own style of work and design, and not all to my personal taste, my admiration for Day’s work knows no bounds. Her deconstruction and reinvention of the notion of pattern construction can never be underestimated. I so love the way her use of {very obviously loose and often naive} hand drawn motifs brought about a huge shift in the way we think of, and construct, pattern today. Prior to the post-war era, pattern had been a much more intensive and busy look {one which I love, too} – but Lucienne’s work certainly lent a freshness of approach that had not been seen before!

I’m sure many people are already familiar with Lucienne Day’s work – however, I feel her influence is one that is still strong and should certainly never be forgotten.

It is my personal belief that everyone’s lives would be enriched if they owned one of her fabulous tea-towels! ;)


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