Tactile Trends.

Sustainable Design and Material Futures

Fabric Trend Story – Charleston House - Autumn/Winter 2018

Fabric Trend Story – Charleston House - Autumn/Winter 2018

Cover Image: © Charleston Trust Photograph by Axel Hesslenberg

Last week we posted a feature length round up from New York Fashion Week where we tracked the growing amount of art influences on fashion.  

As expected London fashion week has continued in this same vein with designers like Burberry paying homage to British sculptor Henry Moore. Elsewhere on the catwalks we counted various looks that nodded to the Bloomsbury aesthetic so we are calling this out as an AW18/19 fabric trend, Charleston House.

To show how Charleston House is manifesting itself as a fabric trend we have outlined 5 fabric directions for you; brush strokes, textural collage, cubist damask and decorative utility.

Before we delve into the fabric directions lets first learn a little about our eccentric Charleston House and its liberal land lady Vanessa Bell.

Charleston House via Charleston Trust


Charleston House

Charleston House was the unconventional home of bohemian artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant from 1916.

Aswel as being their home Charleston House also served as a regular meeting place for the artistically experimental Bloomsbury Group.

According to American writer Dorothy Parker the Bloomsbury group;

Lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles
— Dorothy Parker

Vanessa Bell

Like the rest of the Bloomsbury group Vanessa Bell was an artist that expressed herself, a liberal, bohemian romantic not afraid to challenge the conservatism of her Edwardian counterparts.

Bell favored loose, textural and abstract forms, working geometric shapes with bright colours. She painted portraits in crude colour blocks employing the techniques of Cubism and Fauvism after visiting Englands first post-impressionist exhibition in 1910. 

Here was a sudden pointing to a possible path, a sudden liberation and encouragement to feel for oneself.
— Vanessa Bell

Inspiring stuff dont you think? If you would like to view more images of Charleston House you can find them here.

Now for the fabric directions.

Brush Strokes

Similar to the Bloomsbury style, loose gestural brush strokes appear as embossed patterns on fabric, as seen at Peter Pilotto

Textural Collage

We have already flagged the theme for abstract patchwork at New York Fashion Week, notably in the Thom Browne collection where the heritage pattern of argyle was re mixed. We continue along this path here but with a Charleston spin by highlighting texture in collage at JW Anderson.

Images: J.W Anderson by  Kim Weston Arnold | Vanessa Bell, Design for Omega Workshops Fabric, 1913

Cubist Damask

Christopher Kane manipulates damask woven by Gainsborough Silks into angular folds echoing Bells Cubist inspired artworks. The image on the right shows a piece of wallpaper from Charleston house.  

Decorative Utility

We drew a parallel from the Henry Moore inspired collection of Burberry to the fabric trend Charleston through the decoration of utility wear. This jumpsuit could easily be a pair of painting overalls, of course if it was in Charleston house they would probably have more abstract decoration than this!

So there you have a very brief history of Charleston House and 4 fabric directions to watch for AW18/19 development.

What do you think of the trend Charleston House and what do you think of Vanessa Bell?

Did you know she was also the sister of Virgina Woolf.

Thanks for reading!

Milan Fashion Week 2017 - Santoni Edited by Marco Zanini

Milan Fashion Week 2017 - Santoni Edited by Marco Zanini

New York Fashion Week 2017 - Key Fabric Directions

New York Fashion Week 2017 - Key Fabric Directions