Thursday, November 11, 2010

My New Fashion Crush

My new fashion crush is Whistles. Their photographs don't do their clothes justice. Their winter collection is just lovely- elegant but with that essential edge, and with great fabrics that will last. Delicious.

In 2008 Jane Shepherdson came on board as the chief executive of Whistles, previously she was the head of Topshop- and key to its success. Whistles was formerly owned by Baugur, the Icelandic investment group, but when Baugur went into administration earlier this year it became an independent company.

A major plus point is Shepherdson's ethical principles- much manufacturing is done in Europe and that which is done in China is carefully scrutinized. She has stated that Whistles knows where the fabric comes from and what factories they use, and they realise how important this is to their customers.

This winter they feature a collection by Serbian-born designer Roksanda Ilincic, who is a relative newcomer to the fashion scene.

She also created a Spring/Summer collection for them this year. Which was feminine, but very playful- the embellishments nod to the late 60s/early 70s.

It reminded me of a favourite Spring collection in 2007 by Chloe, it didn't receive many positive reviews but I loved it. The embellished dresses were fantastic- daring colours, combining print with heavy embellishment.

It was actually a 'filler collection' as Chloe waited for their new designer to arrive, Paulo Melim then coming from Marni. Who is now at Diane von Furstenberg. People do move around!

So this collection was overseen by Yvan Mispelaere, who had been the design director of Phoebe Philo- a seminal designer for Chloe.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

colours for autumn and winter 2010/2011

I loved creating these. They are up on my studio wall reminding me to be inspired by COLOUR and colour combinations!

homespun, quietly rustic, warm, textiles are subtle, folk style prints
visuals: baskets, coloured glass, type, handwriting, milk bottles, jars, wood, industrial, plaid and check

bright, quirky, illustrative, humorous, block colours, hand drawn, make-do-and mend aesthetic, mix of patterns, innovative, bold, optimism
visuals: bold graphics and vivid palette, combinations, functional ceramics, playful and bright human aesthetic, conversational and graffiti inspired prints

emotional connection, timeless, craft and elegance combined, all over patterns and placement prints, atmospheric and decorative, vintage and antique elements, abundance of contrasting textiles
visuals: degas, floral, lace, japanese antiques, gilt frames, venice

Friday, August 27, 2010

One Day in San Francisco

It's wonderful when you come across lots of exciting people and places in one day. Which is what holidays in creative locations are all about!

Firstly I met lovely Canadian Illustrator Emma SanCartier, who is now based in San Francisco. Her work is both playful and heartful.

She showed me the lovely shop Paxton Gate's Curiosites for kids. The shop has a gorgeous design and layout. My favorite had to be the mounted soft toy heads. Then there is the sister shop down the road for grown ups. With real animals. Here the crazy mice where a favourite.

Later I stumbled upon Mission Bicycle Company where you build your own bikes. Your own gorgeous bikes that is. Be sure to park them against complimentary backgrounds such as these to do them justice.

Pastel coloured homes and crisscross tram wires.

Cold ears on the bridge, and a lovely view at the end of the day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Charming Colours

A lovely collection of images to illustrate a current colour story...

A motorbike from San Fran, a beautifully laid table featured on Flickr, a car from Italy and bridesmaid dresses from Etsy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Wonderful World of Sanna Annukka

I'm going to share with you one of my all time favorite print designers and illustrator, as delicious design food for thought over the weekend and coming week. The striking designs of the Brighton based Finnish illustrator and print maker Sanna Annukka. Her work is inspired by nature and folklore, combined with her own unique and wonderful style. Enjoy!!
A few of my favorites...

Designs for iTunes gift cards

Lovely huge screen prints in production!

And if you fancy an interior design treat, visit her beautiful home- courtesy of DesignSponge!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Current V&A Delights

What wonderful exhibitions are on at the Victoria and Albert museum in London at the moment! Till the end of June there is their first Quilt exhibition and till the end of September Grace Kelly is their featured style icon. Libertys has even released a limited edition of printed fabrics for quilting in conjunction with the V&A. So in summary- visit!

My first introduction to textile art was Tracey Emin's quilts. Which made me look at my Grandma's beautiful traditional American quilts in a whole new light! What is exciting about this exhibition is that it summarizes transitions such as these as the quilts displayed are from 1700 to the present day.

The Grace Kelly, Style Icon exhibition showcases her wardrobe during her film career and also as Princess of Monaco. Thus spanning the 50s, 60s and 70s. I'm guessing the gowns and outfits from the 50s might be my favorites.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fashion Favorites

Summer is on it's way and I'm dreaming of a new wardrobe..
So I thought I'd share my FAVORITE fashion companies with you.

Cotélac is a French brand. Beautiful shapes and fabrics. I have a lovely skirt I bought from one of their Paris stores, and I've had it for 4 years now! I still wear it regularly and get many a compliment.

Wunderkind is based in Germany. One day my wardrobe will stock a Wunderkind dress! Or two. Absolutely gorgeous prints and daring shapes. They are always right on trend.. but in their own unique way.

And to end on an local note-
A very recent find is the lovely Irish company Charlotte & Jane. Their playful dresses are inspired by the 1950s, a wonderful mix of quirky and classic. You choose the print and style and send them your measurements. Now I know where I'll be getting a new dress to celebrate the arrival of summer from! I just have to make the tricky decision of which one..

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Designer Interview starring Angela Cuthill of ArtySmarty (with rather fabulous giveaway!)

Angela is originally from Tasmania (!)and has lived in Dublin (with some long visits home in between) for the last ten years. She studied ceramics and fine art, followed by an MA in art curation. Her husband is Irish and they live in a pretty house on Primrose Avenue. She set up her lovely company ArtySmarty in the last year- creating jewelery, bags and other quirky items.

As a giveaway there is one of Angela's latest necklaces..
Be sure to leave a comment and you just might receive it in the post!

What are you working away on at the moment?
I have been going through a major bag and ‘pocket’ making moment recently. There are some beautiful fabrics available and I want to make useful items so people can enjoy beautiful pattern, design and colour in their everyday life. Things like i-phone covers, business covers, sunglasses cases and tiny tote bags can brighten up dull objects.

Who are your favourite designers and artists?
I have a strong visual art background so my favourites would be more traditional fine arts, say, painting and sculpture. Three big ones for me are;
Michael Morris
Richard Wastell
Ricky Swallows

What are your secret resource websites or blogs!?
Well, my most useful website resource for supplies would have to be Etsy they have all sorts of bits and bobs to buy and I love seeing all of the amazing work that other people are producing and selling on the site. I also spend a lot of time checking out blogs, Etsy Ireland, which is a collective of Irish crafters who sell on Etsy and meet up and discuss ideas have a super blog. They post really user friendly info on how to take great photos of your stuff, how-to’s and any other number of subjects.

What do you love most about what you do?
Flexibility would have to be the big one and of course the creativity. If one day I feel like making bags then I can, if I am working elsewhere I can take my laptop and work on some marketing or new designs. I guess we all want variety in our jobs and a sense of satisfaction when we complete something, I think you get that, especially so, when you have something tangible at the end of your working day.

What's the first thing you remember making?
When I was very small I was bought an air-dry clay kit by my parents that had all of the materials to make some kind of animal figure that you could paint when it dried. I can remember exactly what the figure looked like, some kind of cat, but I loved it so much I went into full production and they were all over the house!

Is the contrast of your subject matter intentional, for example robots and ladies in their undergarments?
I have kind of a wide interest area and I think this is reflected in the work that I produce, while it’s not really intentional. Some days I think I should narrow down the scope of what I do and specialize more but I seem to be getting more ideas as I progress rather than finding one I want to concentrate on.

Your future dreams and plans?
Business wise, I’d like to stock my work in shops all over Ireland and perhaps begin to think about the U.K. and Australia as well. I’d be pretty happy if I could carry on in the future with the same amount of creative freedom that I have now. 

Your thoughts on the design scene in Ireland? Positives and negatives!
There is some amazing contemporary design work being produced in Ireland and it would be great to see them valued more highly. And Ireland is relatively small, which makes it all pretty competitive. I think an outsiders view of Irish design would be more traditional crafts like pottery but there is so much more out there and it’s a shame it’s not better represented.

Where can your work be purchased?
There is a few different options, you can buy direct from my e-commerce site

Or if you don’t trust the modern wonders of the internet I am stocked in a few shops;
MayFly 64 Pleasants Place (next to the Cake Café off Camden Street)
The Irish Design Shop Bow Lane East
Se Si in Temple Bar
Om Diva in the Georges Street Arcade
And if you happen to be in Waterford, Ardmore Pottery and Craft Shop.

I also go to the Dublin Flea Market which happens on the last Sunday of the month in New Market Square, off Cork Street, Dublin 8 each month.

And last of all could you draw an interpretation of 'DesignFingers'!?

Many thanks Angela!