The Bohemian 70s
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The Bohemian 70s

Published on 04.06.2015

Entering into the district of London where Bermondsey Street is located is like breathing part of the city’s fashion and textile industry. If you decide to get off the underground at London Bridge, you’ll only be a few minutes away from the Design Museum, London Museum, Alaska Factory or the well-known Neckinger Mills, where they tan leather. It is precisely in this famous street, with a past that dates back to when fabrics used to be dyed, where the Fashion and Textile Museum now stands. Here is where I am heading, to visit the exhibition of the work produced by the most bohemian designer of the 70s: Thea Porter.

thea porter my new blazer

Thea Porter was born in 1927, in Jerusalem. She later moved with her parents to Damascus, where she spent her childhood and part of her teens before she moved to the United Kingdom to continue her studies.

As from 1968 Thea Porter knew how to create marvellous dresses that perfectly expressed her view of the Middle East, the walks taken under the covered bazaar of Damascus, where the smell of spices, colours of condiments, silks, precious gems or essences filled a special place in her memory. A few years later, she moved to Beirut where, in 1964, she met her husband and they moved definitively to London where Thea established herself as an interior designer. She opened her iconic shop in Greek Street, which sold furniture, rugs, fabrics and kaftans that she brought from Syria, until the select clientele of her business began to ask her to design clothes for them using her beautiful fabrics.

thea porter my new blazer

Porter’s exotic luxury began to be felt in the circles of the bohemian jet set of that period and her success started to spread to the other side of the ocean. She started dressing music and film stars, such as Pink Floyd or Barbra Streisand, and who doesn’t remember Elizabeth Taylor wearing her floaty kaftans.

Thea Porter’s designs were the protagonists of numerous front covers and photographic reports, illustrating the bohemian chic style of the high society in their homes in northern Africa and around the world. The designer continued to work in the 80s until, in 1994, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and she died in 2000. Ever since then, her designs have turned into museum exhibits and are coveted by collectors and celebrities like Kate Moss, Jemima Khan, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, among many others.

thea porter my new blazer

thea porter my new blazer

Porter, a designer whose creations are impregnated with all her experience, trips, friendships and the bohemian style of life that attracted her followers and which she herself personified to perfection.  

Fashion and Textile Museum. 83 Bermondsey Street. London                                                                        

María Rosa Amor



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