Named after Edith Sitwell’s book of the same title, English Eccentrics hit the headlines in the 1980s along with John Galliano, Katherine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood as London went through one of its periodic bursts of fashionable creativity. Helen David, the artistic inspiration behind the company, set up the business with her sister after graduating from Central St. Martin’s and in 1987 was joined by her husband Colin who had studied printmaking at the Royal College of Art. They were known primarily for their unusual trompe l’oeil designs inspired by an eclectic range of subjects. The special qualities of silk complemented their designs which relied on a wide spectrum of colours from the vivid and intense to the softest and most muted shades of the palette and it enabled them to capture the detail of their designs. Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Prince were among their celebrity clients along with Diana, Princess of Wales, and subsequently they expanded from clothing collections into stationery, furnishing fabrics and packaging. In the 1990’s they moved into ready to wear.
In 1999 Helen won the British Fashion Award for Glamorous Eveningwear during London Fashion Week and from 1985 to 2008 they have shown at London Fashion Week and exhibited in the British Designer Collections. Many of the designs reflect Helen’s love of innovation, printmaking and fine art with a fascinating range of floral furniture, mixed media art pieces and laser cut clothing.
An extensive range of sketchbook extracts from their design archive, stretching back over 25 years, can be found on their website. They have always been supportive of fellow designers and regularly showcase new talent (often recent graduates).
The English Eccentrics' new and exciting involvement with tapestry design is a logical addition to their range. The patterns they have produced for us have their own distinctive stamp, unlike anything else in our collection.