Women's Fashion | E-cquisitions

Silks from a designer with an impeccable pedigree

A striking online world of strong colours and bold patterns

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Silks from a designer with an impeccable pedigree

February 02 2011
Dominic Lutyens

Textile designer Tamasyn Gambell may have been the envy of her peers when she landed a string of jobs at hip fashion houses soon after graduating from the Royal College of Art. But she has mixed views. While she acknowledges that she benefited hugely from working for Louis Vuitton and Sonia Rykiel – “Parisian couture gave me a real feel for timeless design and fine fabrics” – designing for voraciously trend-driven high-street brands was not for her, she says. “Trends are moving faster and faster, and this creates so much waste.”

So in 2008, keen to create “accessories that focus on quality and design that people will love for years”, Gambell went solo. She is now based in the London designer-makers’ studio complex Cockpit Arts, and her designs include silk scarves (£45 to £85), notebooks (from £9) and cushions (from £35) that are both durable and stand slightly apart from current trends. Many of these are available on her classy, breeze-to-use website.

Forget today’s vogue for twee florals; Gambell mainly designs bold, geometric, abstract patterns and, occasionally, super-stylised floral motifs, “inspired by the Bauhaus and art deco”. Influenced by “a Mexican palette of clashing colours”, she favours unconventional colour combos: burnt orange teamed, say, with cobalt blue and blackcurrant-fool pink.

More individual still are her reclaimed scarves – sourced from British textile recycling plants and UK and Parisian flea markets – overprinted with her designs (from £25). Indeed, Gambell strives to take an eco, socially responsible approach, using organic dyes from Britain and paper supplied by a British paper mill, while her silk scarves are woven by an all-female Indian co-operative paid fair wages.

Her prints look at their most punchy on her larger scarves, which – as the models sporting them on Gambell’s website demonstrate – are particularly stylish worn as outsize neckerchiefs or swashbuckling shawls.

First picture: woollen scarf, £65. Second picture: flower diamond, £25. Third picture: luxe scarf, £72.