CHARLES AND PATRICIA LESTER
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There are no distinct boundaries in the talents and interests of Charles and Patricia Lester. Charles Lester started his career as a textile physicist with I.C.I. He then moved into teaching, setting up and running a new department for design, craft and technology at Monmouth School for Boys. Charles left teaching to join Patricia fifteen years ago.
Patricia trained and worked as a secretary, but when their daughter Georgina was born, she decided to work from home so that she could spend as much time as possible with her child. Little did they think when Patricia took in dressmaking that it would lead to the two of them being considered one of the most inventive and unusual fashion and textile design teams. Their work not only adorns some of the most exotic women and homes in the world, but it is also collected and exhibited in prestigious museums and galleries.
The Lesters' main studio is based in the little market town of Abergavenny in Wales, with a design studio being planned for Llansteffan in West Wales. The incredible beauty and tranquillity of the Welsh countryside and the dramatic rugged coastal regions constantly excite them. Every day the transforming light and colours inspire their ingenious creativity. It does not matter if they are working on a special wedding gown, a tapestry, a bedspread or just a tiny cushion; each piece is a unique work of art.
Their use of colour is unsurpassed, as are the innovative techniques; which they have developed over the years. Every idea and invention is experimented with until the evolved process is perfected. Beyond the concept of couture - they paint into each piece of cloth the shadows and light that an artist would use to show the richness and luminosity of a garment, casting spells of colour and dimension that deceive the mind and the eye. The fabrics are then crafted by their small skilled team into extraordinary pieces. All the work is completed 'in house' including the painting, hand printing and hand pleating as well as the final construction. Unhindered by the constraints of conventional sewing traditions, the clothes are moulded onto the body using the qualities of the cloth to dictate the method of construction. The clothes are sensual and minimalist, uncluttered and refined in shaping.
Patricia's hallmark - meticulous attention to detail - has attracted an impressive number of admirers, who appreciate the craftsmanship as well as the 'inspired' qualities of the collections. They are luxurious clothes that touch the spirituality and femininity of the wearer as no other designer can. Royalty and icons of the film world and the pop world alike enjoy the unique fashion style of these designers.
The Lesters' passion for textiles has lead to the extension of the business into the film and opera world as well as an interesting home interior collection. They undertake commission work for theatre and interiors including costumes, tapestries, bedcovers, cushions, throws, screens and curtains. Pleated silks, sumptuous velvets, all painted and printed in such a way as to compliment the most exotic antiques or futuristic interiors. The textiles have a timeless quality, which adapt like a chameleon to any environment.
Charles and Patricia's daughter Georgina is now a valued member of the design team continuing in the spirit of her parents work but adding her own dimension having previously worked as a stained glass artist.