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Tuesday 12 March 2024


Serbian-born designer and painter Bernat Klein (1922–2014) emigrated to the UK in the late 1940s and studied at the University of Leeds before developing an international career from his base in the Scottish Borders. His textiles company Colourcraft (Gala) Ltd supplied leading European fashion houses in the 1960s. From the 1970s Klein produced his own clothing collections.

The Bernat Klein Foundation, established in 2018 to manage his legacy, has published this welcome book to celebrate the centenary of his birth. It accompanied an exhibition curated by Lisa Mason, held at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The ‘burnt orange’ colour of the book’s cover was a new and highly fashionable colour introduced by Klein in the 1960s. It became popular for clothing and furnishing fabrics which complemented the items of international-style furniture appearing in upmarket shops in Britain. Photographs make eminently clear his passion for colour.

This book is an important contribution to the understanding and appreciation of mid 20th-century textile and design history. It is lavishly illustrated with photographs of Klein’s oil paintings and textiles and fashion photographs of garments made from his fabrics, including those made by couture designer Chanel. Explanations of the starting point of his designs and development of his innovative complex weave structures are also included.

Short pieces grouped under six themes have been authored by many individuals. They express a variety of perspectives and highly personal responses to Klein’s work, ideas and techniques, giving depth and insight to the overall picture. Klein’s legacy continues to evolve in the hands of a new generation.


Mary Schoeser & Alison Harley, eds, Bernat Klein Foundation, 2022, pb £35

Condensed from a review by Liz Arthur in DAS Newsletter No. 129