A Life in Colour

Apparently, today is the first day of spring – a time of brightness and colour and hope. But while the skies are thus far failing to bring us such vibrancy, a new exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum does so with enough exuberance to help us forget the greyness. Temporarily, at least.

Kaffe Fassett-designed furnishings

Source: Jay McLaughlin.

Kaffe Fassett-designed furnishings

Kaffe Fassett – A Life in Colour, showcases more that 100 works by the pattern and textile designer, all of which are bold, bright and brilliantly cheerful.

Chevrons Quilt

Source: Jay McLaughlin.

Chevrons Quilt

The exhibition is Fassett’s first in London since his solo show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1988, and spans five decades of his practice, featuring designs for Bill Gibb, knitwear for Missoni, printed patchwork fabrics, quilts, and needlepoint pieces.

Marquee Chevrons Quilts
Marquee Chevrons Quilts

Interior and textile designer Sue Timney has been responsible for the exhibition design, which she says uses ‘a stylised, ordered framework’ to display the pieces. Timney also designed a ‘feeling wall’ installation for the show, allowing visitors to touch the textiles and gain an insight into their fabrication.

Kaffe Fassett's bright works

Source: Jay McLaughlin.

Kaffe Fassett’s bright works

The show is accompanied by some gorgeous graphics by Hawaii Design, which use a repeated Fassett-designed pattern and bold typography.

Hawaii Design's exhibition poster
Hawaii Design’s exhibition poster

Fassett was born in Big Sur, California, where he studied painting, and moved to London in the 1960s. Late in the decade he met Scottish fashion designer Bill Gibb, with whom he collaborated (and, for a time, dated), working together on complex knitwear designs that went on to be shown in publications including Vogue magazine.

Kaffe Fassett talking at the exhibition launch

Source: Jay McLaughlin.

Kaffe Fassett talking at the exhibition launch

Throughout Fassett’s career, it’s been all about colour, colour colour – whether designing rugs, making huge tapestries or forming his complex mosaic works. It could well be just the antidote we need to the bleak outdoors.

Kaffe Fassett talking at the exhibition launch

Source: Jay McLaughlin.

Colourful hats

Kaffe Fassett – A Life in Colour runs from 22 March – 29 June at Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1

Kaffe Fassett-designed furnishings

Source: Jay McLaughlin.

Kaffe Fassett designs poster

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