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Obituary: Laurence Bidston, aka menswear designer Felix Blow

Tributes have been paid to former Pretty Green designer Laurence Bidston, who died suddenly last month. He was 49.  

Bidston began his career in fashion aged just 18, selling his womenswear label Laurence at a market stall in Liverpool. The brand quickly became successful, with stockists including Harrods, Bloomingdale’s and Henri Bendel.

In 1987, he started another collection, Felix Blow, a name which originated from his favourite book Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. Bidston consequently became known to many in the industry as Felix Blow.

During his career, Bidston designed for Vivienne Westwood, Katharine Hamnett and Paul Smith.

More recently, the Liverpudlian took up head of design roles at Bench, where he worked from 2005-08, and Liam Gallagher’s label Pretty Green, where he worked for two years until 2013. In October he started working as head of design at menswear brand Albam.

Colleagues and friends have paid tribute to the designer, who founded womenswear brand Poppy Blow with his wife Katie last year.

Pretty Green sales director Dean West said: “I first met Felix in the mid-1990s when we used to buy his graphic tees collection Felix Blow for the Pilot store in Leicester. He was that rare thing, a truly happy man. Supremely gifted, very warm and positive, with a calm vibe that made you feel more relaxed yourself when you were in his company. He was a gentleman and will be missed greatly.”

Albam designer Rosamund Ward, who worked with Bidston at Bench, said he was the first person to introduce her to menswear. She added: “We never stopped sharing inspiration. His creative outlook on life will stay with me always.” 

Anthony Donnelly, co-founder of Gio-Goi, said he and his brother Christopher had known the designer since 1990 when Bidstow started making hats for Gio-Goi.

“Myself and Christopher have many fond memories of him from back in the day. He was a great designer. Our crossed paths again when he came to work with us on the second coming of Gio-Goi. He was a great talent, quiet, hard-working with a great sense of humour. We will both miss him.” 

Fly53 founder Will Rigg, who met Bidston about 15 years ago through the industry and later worked together on a number of projects, said: “He was one of those on-the-ball guys. He always knew what was going on in fashion; you only had to look at him to see he clearly lived and breathed fashion.”

Logistics consultant Wayne Cooper, who worked alongside Bidston for two years as operations director at Pretty Green, described him as “an absolute dream” to work with.

“As well as a solid designer, he knew other parts of the business like production really well. He was a fantastic guy with connections all around the world.”

Katie Bidston paid tribute to her husband and business partner: “He was the most amazing person you could ever wish to meet and he did so much in his life – things that people can only dream about. Every person that ever met him felt the warmth and positivity and gentleness that flowed out of him like a waterfall.”

Laurence Bidston died early last month and his funeral was held shortly afterwards.

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