Susan Collier, 72
July 15, 2011,
Known for her richly saturated palette and refreshing prints, Collier sold her first designs to Liberty in 1961. Seven years later, she established her own studio and was joined by her sister, Sarah Campbell.
Collier Campbell developed into a major European supplier of wholesale fabric whose prints turned up everywhere from Yves St. Laurent ready-to-wear to Marks & Spencer as well as the interior design trade.
But it was a line of bed and bath products for J.P. Stevens starting from the mid-1980s that she will forever be known for in the U. S. home textiles business.
"In their day, they really turned the market on its ear when it desperately needed leadership," said Frank Foley, now president of CHF but at the time an executive who helped to run the program at Stevens.
"They had aggressive designs, but they were incredibly commercial," said Foley, who maintained a personal friendship with both Collier and Campbell ever since. "They were never a version of somebody else's designs, they started from scratch.
"Both Susan and Sarah were wonderful people and great personalities," he said.
The UK Guardian noted:
"The most famous patterns are in every textbook as exemplars of the art, and many readers would recognize their mother's curtains, their aunt's scarf and their wedding-present sheets, but be unaware of the partnership of Collier and her sister Sarah Campbell, who created them."
The line with Stevens continued after the merger of the company with West Point Pepperell, but by the early 1990s it had peaked. Over the years, it was resurrected periodically in the U.S. by several companies, including a line at Kohl's in 2005.
More recently, Fabricut has produced a line of decorative fabrics, the most recent expansion of which was dedicated to Collier at the recent Showtime fabric show in High Point.