Introducing two new creative print stories, inspired by two historic sisters; Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. We speak to our Head of Design Mark to get an inside look at our inspirations and uncover his favourite artistic prints.

artistic prints

Mark introduces Autumn: explore new artistic prints

Bloomsbury

“I live in Sussex and have always known of Charleston House, an inspirational building where British modernist painter, Vanessa Bell lived with her husband.”

“Literally every surface of this house (walls, furniture, everything) is painted. There’s not one surface left bare. It has been restored and left as if Bell and her husband are still living there – the studio included, with Bell’s paints and brushes. So as you can imagine, it’s a go-to place for any budding textile designer or artist because it’s so full of inspirational, unique art. We love looking at the hand of the artist and creating prints that are feminine and contemporary. So Charleston House seemed the perfect source of inspiration for our Autumn 18 collection.”

artistic prints

Key pieces from Bloomsbury

Vita Skirt

“The Vita Skirt really sums up the handwriting of Charleston House – you’ll notice a mix of geometric motifs. There’s a slight twenties feel with this print, and the colouration is soft and feminine, which is also indicative of Charleston House.”

artistic prints

Gertie Cardigan

“We have a textile archive where we source a lot of our prints. The print from the Gertie Cardigan is something we just found there by chance – it’s an original 1920’s French jacquard pattern which we recoloured to make our own print. We thought it was perfect, reflecting the Bloomsbury Set beautifully.”

artistic prints

Vanessa Blooms Dress

This last piece is very reminiscent of Vanessa Bell’s work, she did a lot of floral still life paintings. When designing each of our pieces, we think it’s important to make them look interesting and modern as well as feminine – so we enlarged this print and used panelling to mix it in with our bamboo jersey.”

“There’s a lovely quote about the Bloomsbury Set: “they loved in triangles and lived in squares”. And the geometric squares that you can see on this dress are a bit of a play on this quote.”

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The Odyssey Continues…

“Virginia Woolf is Vanessa Bell’s sister – Woolf was a writer. We sourced our inspiration for The Odyssey Continues… from one of Virginia Woolf’s most famous books, Orlando. We knew that we wanted to have an ethnic theme, but for us its always important to have some sort of interesting hook too. Orlando is a fantastical tale about an Elizabethan courtier who lives for eternity, changes sex and travels all over Europe and the Middle East. We used this clash of cultures to inspire The Odyssey Continues… looking at Elizabethan architecture and the Ottoman Empire in particular.”

artistic prints

Key pieces from The Odyssey Continues…

Tapestry Dress

This dress was developed digitally, meaning we could get more tone and colour – something you wouldn’t be able to do with normal screen printing. When I think of Turkey I think of their amazing textiles, their jacquard and their carpets, so this print was commissioned with that in mind. What’s interesting is that when you look at Elizabethan art or their embroidered dresses and then look at Turkish or Indian art there’s a synergy and a similarity between them. You can see that fusion of East meets West in this dress.”

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Olivia Cardigan Coat

Many of the motifs on this cardigan (coming soon!) were re-imagined from the Tapestry Dress, with added Elizabethan geometric forms inspired by Tudor buildings – which you can see on the sleeve and back. This piece really shows the clash of cultures.

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Sheba Ray Dress

“It’s nice in a collection to get a balance of ‘wow’ prints and more simple, artistic prints. This particular one came from Turkish textiles but is very easy to wear – it almost gives the illusion of little sequins or beads. The shape of this dress is easy too. It has practical pockets and a relaxed vibe, with little details like the shirt hem at the bottom, the dropped shoulder and the turned back collar. It’s made from our soft and sustainable Modal fabric so it’s got a lovely handle too.”

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Thank you Mark!

Hannah artistic prints

Let us know what you think of the artistic prints from our new Autumn collection in the comments, or tweet us @wearethought.

You might also love reading our Senior Buyer’s top picks from our Pre-Autumn collection.