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Textile design in the period spanning the late 1950s through the 1960s through to the late 1970s can be roughly divided into three broad style categories:
– Stylised fabric designs taken from nature, especially trees, leaves and flowers, as seen in the work of textile designers such as Lucienne Day, Maija Isola and Viola Gråsten. These designs are especially prevalent in Swedish textiles from the midcentury era, where prominent producers included Borås Wäfveri.
– Geometric fabric designs as seen in the work of textile designers like Barbara Brown, Peter Perritt and Verner Panton. Geometric fabric designs were particularly popular in the midcentury era in Germany, Scandinavia and the UK, where many such textiles were produced by Heals.
– Semi-abstract fabric designs as seen in the work of textile designers ranging from Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler and John Piper to Maija Isola and Marjatta Metsovaara. Textiles in this style were extremely popular in the UK, where Heals and David Whitehead produced many notable fabrics in this style, and in Finland, where designs were often particularly bold and on a very large scale and were produced by companies including Marimekko, Tampella and Finlayson.
Many of the best fabric designs from the late 50s, 60s and 70s have proved to be perennial classics that have continued to resonate throughout the 50-plus years since they were created. Indeed, a number of textile designs from this era have been brought back into production and a significant proportion of today's contemporary fabrics have been directly inspired by textiles from the midcentury and postwar period. We also love the unbeatable quality of fabrics from the 50s, 60s and 70s, as well as their distinctive and highly characteristic colours and print techniques.
We often use these stunning vintage 1960s and 70s fabrics in exactly the way they were originally intended – as curtains, as tablemats and tablecloths, or as headscarves. But our favourite tip is to use them as wall hangings, which emphasises their identity as the works of art they really are and is also a really easy and cost-effective way to introduce a strong midcentury period ambience into a room.