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The ‘Gangster of Maximalism’ will be at PG Live next week

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen will be at the show in person for The Great British Card Company greeting card launch.

With his flamboyant dress, exuberant turn of phrase and lavish designs, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen knows how to flaunt the max out of maximalism, and now he has turned his frills and flair to creating a range of greeting cards with The Great British Card Company (GBCC), the latest LLB licensed collaboration.

The lavish new greeting card collection will be launched at the Progressive Greetings Live trade exhibition next week (Tuesday 6 June and Wednesday 7 June at the Business Design Centre) – and Laurence will be there in person to add his own blend of exuberant style to the show.

There is only one Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the master of style and substance, who has built up a widespread following for his elaborate design aesthetic, distinctive eloquent verbosity and adroitly delivered witticisms. Having achieved fame and a strong following from his 30-year TV career, notably through flexing his interior design skills on Changing Rooms he has returned to his fine art roots, setting up his own ‘glamporium’ showroom in Cirencester, his hometown for the last 15 years and sharing his design acumen through various collaborations.

As if primed, Laurence countered: “I suppose because I have been around for 2,000 years I am recognised, that said I am more frequently mistaken for David Grohl [of Foo Fighters fame], Captain Hook or Dick Dastardly – the first has great kudos, the latter two less so!”

LLBcardsThe idea of collaborating on a collection of greeting cards was something that chimed with Laurence, both for personal and historical reasons.

“Jackie [Laurence’s wife] and I have always been big greeting card senders, hoovering them up when we see something beautiful or a design we think would be perfect for someone we know,” revealed Laurence. “I feel proud to have been involved in developing a greeting card range with Hallmark back in 2002, which I still believe was very influential in that it took ornate damask and tapestry patterning, largely monochrome, into greeting cards,” recalled Laurence. “Back then, pattern was a bit underground, we had not gone through big wallpaper revival that has happened in recent years.”

Now, over two decades later and with the consumer’s pattern barrier lifted Laurence has turned up the colour and luxurious flourishes with the designs for the GBBC inaugural greeting card collection which exudes his own richly decorative fine art.

Laurence positively rejoices in his lavish creative outpourings, his burgeoning archive now bulging with thousands of pieces of his artworks, with some of his fine art pieces due to feature in a dedicated art exhibition later this September year.

“I now have 2,500 designs in my collection and I am still alive and creating. The explosion of digital printing makes it a very exciting time to be a creative. Instead of having to commit to reams and reams, I can be capricious and produce a single metre of special fabric if I so choose, which encourages wild experimentation,” said Laurence.

LLBProductLaurence is also delighted that fashion has caught up with his penchant for over-the-top patterning.

“I am the original gangster of maximalism, it’s just lovely to see so many people joining me now!” Laurence quipped. “There is room for everyone.”

Laurence accepts that pre-modernism was a period in the 20th Century “when society needed to be equalised, but too much of the baby got thrown out with the bath water.” To his mind, an obsession with “not wanting to be seen as bourgeois” saw a rejection of anything overly ornate. Thankfully now though, he rejoices that patterning from the past is being embraced by the consumer.

“Historical art styles offer us the most extraordinary dressing-up box of opportunity which can then be combined with your own creative ideas,” and he feels very glad to be able plunge right into this veritable dressing-up box, as evidenced in the greeting card range from GBCC as well as the other licensed ranges that bear his brand. As well as the Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen upcycling and crafting product range from AV2 for Aldi, which reached the finals of the Brand Licensing and Lifestyle Awards (B&LLAs) this year, the licensing programme includes sofas with ScS, wellington boots from Grisport, bedlinen with Next and Wayfair and collaborations with Very, among many others.

PGLogoLaurence will be leaving his Glamporium to visit Progressive Greetings Live on the first day of the show, Tuesday 6 June, arriving late morning and will be on the GBCC stand on the main mezzanine (Stand 228). To attend the show, click here to register, with free refreshments, free lunch and free opening night party all part of the experience.

And for a taster of just some of the product newness that will be on show at PG Live, flick through the extended Innovations section in Progressive Greetings’ June edition by clicking here.

A longer article about the Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen x GBCC collaboration appears in Progressive Greetings’ June edition, which can be read online by clicking here.

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