Bernat Klein, Photos by Arthur Massey

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.


Posted by Vintage Boutique Girl:

Yes, that last photo is absolutely dreamy! I love it! 

Wednesday, May 27th 2009 @ 4:27 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Agreed! I think Mr. Massey caught the true atmosphere of the 70s. 

Saturday, May 30th 2009 @ 6:21 AM

Posted by Rachel:

Thought you might be interested in this post about Bonnie Cashin. Our post also references Bernat Klein!

Thursday, September 24th 2009 @ 10:43 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Rachel, Thanks so much for posting. The FIDM blog has very quickly become one of my favorites! 

Thursday, September 24th 2009 @ 4:36 PM

Posted by Helen Taylor:

These images are lovely. I manage the textile archive at Heriot-Watt University and we have a large collection. Jacqueline visited when she did her research. DO yuo have Mr Massey’s contact details as we’d love to get copies of these images for the collection – or just to get his reminiscenses about Bernat’s work. 

Monday, October 5th 2009 @ 8:14 AM

Posted by Angela Gladstone-Smith:

just read your comments about the work of Bernat Klein. My mother was a hand knitter who knitted at home in the 1970s. i remember the house being full of beautiful mohair yarns in a range of vibrant colours. his work was ahead of his time and he used shades of red/purle together when it was unheard of for these colours to be worn together.infact i think this was the start of my interest in yarn. I have a jumper that was hand knitted at this time using his yarn and it is just as wearable now as it was then! i now also hand knit and continue to be facinated by unusual wools.
My mother also made fireside rugs for his company. This was using a much harsher wool but also in bright colours 

Monday, November 16th 2009 @ 11:32 AM


Filed under Designers, Vintage Photographs

3 responses to “Bernat Klein, Photos by Arthur Massey

  1. Pingback: Reading « Fibres of Being

  2. Pingback: Vintage Miscellany – August 19, 2012 | The Vintage Traveler

  3. Pingback: Bonnie Cashin Tweed and Leather Suit, 1970 – 71 | The Vintage Traveler

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