‘Thea’s are the only clothes I never throw away.’ Joan Collins
From Syria to Soho, Thea Porter’s glamorous designs introduced ‘bohemian chic’ to 1960s London, New York and Paris. Her shop in Greek Street opened in 1966 and instantly drew a rock and film star crowd of clients: from the Beatles and Pink Floyd to Elizabeth Taylor, Faye Dunaway and Barbara Streisand. For nearly two decades, Porter created interiors and clothes from luxurious textiles that drew much of their inspiration from an exotic view of the Middle East. Often combining richly patterned silks with antique fabrics, her creations were exotic, glamorous and highly personal.
The exhibition ‘Thea Porter Bohemian Chic’ opens at the Fashion and Textile Museum on 6 February 2015 and presents over 150 inspirational textiles, garments, artwork and photographs that chart her career. Accompanied by the publication of a major new book, the exhibition explores the evolution of her designs, from interior to fashion, as well as the dramatic rise of interest in her work in America – she was promoted by Diana Vreeland and stocked by Giorgio Beverley Hills – and the opening of her shops in New York and in Paris in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The exhibition has involved sourcing, identifying and securing garments from across Europe and North America. The collectors who have loaned to the exhibition range from major museums and archives to many private individuals.