Several days ago I got an email from Arthur Massey, who during the 1960s and 70s, photographed the collections of Bernat Klein. While not especially well known here in the US, British readers will certainly be familiar with his work.
Klein studied art and textiles in Jerusalem and England, and in 1952 started his own textiles company, Colourcraft. The company produced various woven fashion accessories such as ties and scarves, but in the late fifties Klein began experimenting with producing tweeds. These tweeds, based on years of color study and experimentation with dyes and weaving, were like nothing ever before seen. They were so special that Chanel chose them for her spring 1962 couture collection.
That was only the beginning, as other couturiers – St. Laurnet, Cardin and Laroche – discovered the beautiful Bernat Klein textiles. And thanks to the research by Jacqueline Field, it is now well documented that some of the fabulous mohair blend tweeds used by Bonnie Cashin were produced by Bernat Klein. (See her article in Volume 33, 2006, Dress)
In the late 1960s Klein began working in polyester, developing ranges of color-coordinated separates in printed jersey knit, mohair tweed and wool twill. Production continued throughout the 1970s, with the firm closing in 1981.
Klein is still alive and living in the Scottish Borders. Mr. Massey would love to reconnect with Bernat Klein, and so if someone who has his contact information will post or email me, I’ll happily forward this on to Mr. Massey.
Please note that all photos are property and copyright of Arthur Massey, and may not be used without his permission.
Klein at his easel.
Bernat Klein and his wife, Margaret
Love this shot, showing a 1970s range of color-coordinated separates.
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My mother also made fireside rugs for his company. This was using a much harsher wool but also in bright colours