I was lucky enough to interview Sarah with her late sister (Susan Collier) in 2011, shortly before Susan sadly died. The duo worked together for more than 50 years, designing textile prints for the likes of Habitat, Liberty and Yves Saint Laurent. They welcomed me to their colourful Stockwell studio, let me rummage through their fabulous archive of designs, gave me the grand tour and insisted I stay for lunch, then fed me excellent fish cakes from the Portuguese café next door.
I’ve been so thrilled to see Sarah’s career continue to flourish after such loss. She just has not slowed down… there’s a new blog (always filled with poetic, intelligent and amusing observations on life accompanied by her lovely paintings), she’s been busy designing for M&S, teaching students, running workshops at the V&A and working on an enormous coffee table tome, The Collier Campbell Archive: 50 Years of Passion in Pattern which arrived with a satisfying THUD on my doormat and is launching in London tomorrow. What with all this frantic activity, I have no idea how Sarah has managed to team up with West Elm in the midst of it all to produce such a strong range, but somehow she has. She’s a real inspiration.
No international shipping option on these delights as yet, so we’ll just have to admire it all from afar. Luckily, there’s plenty of pattern to keep us going in the meantime on Sarah’s own website. All too often these days, big brands slap the names of celebrities, actors, bloggers or pop stars onto their ‘designer’ ranges in an attempt to gain publicity and kudos, so it’s great to see that West Elm sensibly sorts the wheat from the chaff and recognises that true talent and design expertise built up over many years produces top quality pieces that those who aren’t ‘real’ designers can never come close to.