Kerry O'Brine Womens Wear

Behind the seams

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What are vertical body proportions?

Let’s talk about body proportion. I had a discussion with someone yesterday about what is included in the torso and what it means to have a long or short torso! When you start questioning what sentences like ‘proportionably longer torso than legs’ it gets you thinking, what does this really mean?!!

In art the body is usually measured in heads. So you are measuring the body with the size of it’s own head. On average these days the body measures about 8 heads (including the head!).

The torso is the body not including limbs, neck or head. The torso (including the neck) generally measures 3 heads and the legs (including feet) measures 4 heads.

Now, if you think you proportionally have a different body to leg ratio it could be either of these posibilities:

Longer torso and shorter legs – your torso measure longer than 3 heads and your legs measure less than 4 heads.

Shorter torso and longer legs – your torso measures less than 3 heads and your legs measure more than 4 heads.

body-proportions long legs, short torso, short legs, long torso

From Left to Right: Short legs and long torso, standard body ratio of torso to legs, short torso and long legs

See the diagram: The centre person is Miss Average with the 3 to 4 head, torso to leg ratio.  On the left is the longer torso and shorter legs and on the right you have the shorter torso and longer legs. All three are the same height and it is just the body ratios that change.

It doesn’t matter whether you are short or tall – you could be any of these three options

 

 

 


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Colour placement in fashion outfits

When designing a piece of clothing a designer must considor it as part of an outfit. This outfit has to look visually ‘right’. Making an outfit look ‘right’ usually includes balance and points of focus. In my previous blog post I discussed the length of sleeves and balancing out the body. I’m going to look here at how colour placement can influence the eye.

Visual balance in art and design can often be achieved by using odd numbers.

In art there is the visual triangle where objects or people are arranged to create an invisible triangle shape. There is also the use of placing 3 areas of the same colour to draw the eye through the painting. Take a look at the painting below – the blue pulls your eyes accross the painting and the balance of 3 blue areas is visually harmonious. There is almost an invisible triangle joining the three blue areas.

space composition II

This principle is also applied in graphic design, interiors and fashion.

Look closely at this lovely interior created by firm Gauthier Stacy
You can see the candle sticks are grouped in 3:

Rule of 3 in interiors

Rule of 3 in interiors

This is an example in fashion of a way of creating a visual triangle and pulling the eye through an outfit with 3 points of colour. Ralph Lauren uses orange sandals, a handbag and a jacket to create this grouping. You could use a belt, bag and shoes to create a grouping of 3 colour points or perhaps a necklace, jacket and belt.

Ralph Lauren S/S 2015 collection

Ralph Lauren S/S 2015 collection

It can often be a placement of one that is the odd number. It can be a piece that creates a focal point – pulling the viewer to a point you want them to look at or just adding a pop of interest/colour.

Yellow shoes add a light hearted pop of colour to this outfit at Balmain S/S 15

Yellow shoes add a light hearted pop of colour to this outfit at Balmain S/S 15

David Koma

David Koma has drawn your eye to the waist with a yellow waistband in s/s 15 collection. You can do this with a belt


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Playing with proportion

Balance and proportion in an outfit are important ways to trick the viewing eyes into seeing your body in a different way.

The eye naturally finds a balanced body or face shape more appealing. The goal with many styling exercises is creating an hour glass figure i.e. large top balanced by a large bottom and skinny in the middle.

I don’t agree that we should all dress to create this particular shape. But it does provide a good example of a balanced body shape. By putting a belt on your waist you can evenly divide your body – The eyes will find this a good marker.

Balmain wide black belts to define the models waist S/S 15

In Balmain wide black belts were used to define the models waist in the S/S 15 collection

This does not work, however if you have a short torso. Short torsos have a high waistline or no waistline – so a belt will not divide you evenly in the middle and will only emphasise your short body.

Ladies with long bodies and shorter legs can lengthen their bottom half by raising the waistline up. Take a look at the following designs from Alberta Ferretti.

Higher waistline at Alberta Ferretti S/S 15

Higher waistline at Alberta Ferretti S/S 15

The top of the skirt line is higher than elbow height and shortens the body length: making the models legs and lower torso look longer.

Outfits 1 and 2 are similar – A-line floaty top and wide floaty trousers. However, there are key differences that make each outfit better suited to different body shapes.

Outfit 1. The top is longer (to wrist level) and floats over the trousers. This is good for ladies with a short torso as it is elongating the torso. The all white colour scheme adds to this lengthing.

Proportion all white outfit S/S 2015 Carolina Herrera

Outfit 1 from Carolina Herrera Spring Summer 2015 collection

The longer top length can take the lower v-neckline. This is a better shape for larger busts.

proportion Carolina Herrera S/S 2015

Outfit 2 from Carolina Herrera Spring Summer 2015 collection

Outfit 2. The shorter red top hits about waist height and is balanced with a large bold print on the bottom half. This is great if you want focus on your waist as the red top draws the eye there. If the top was patterned like the trousers, a red belt in the middle would nicely define the waist so you have a figure instead of being a mass of pattern. The high neckline balances out the shorter length of the top. This high neckline and short length would not be very flattering on larger busted ladies: the A-line shape would sit like a tent from your bust.

Outfit 3. The trousers in this outfit taper down to the ankles. The shape of the trousers is very flattering  – loose and skimming on the thighs and narrow at the slimmest part, focusing your eyes on the ankles.

Outfit 3. from Sonia Rykiel Spring Summer 2015 collection

Outfit 3. from Sonia Rykiel Spring Summer 2015 collection

The soft lines of the lemon jacket below in example 1 from Carolina Herrera would soften a lady with an angular figure. The outfit proportions are balanced out i.e. the skirt is shorter than knee length and the top half is fully covered – the lemon to skin ratio is about even.
Let’s compare the sleeve length in example 1 to example 2 from Carolina Herrera’s spring summer 2015 collection. The eye is drawn to the end of the sleeve. In example two the focus is on the waist in the middle of the body. In example one the focus is dropped lower than the waist line but not as far as the hips.
White floral dress from Carolina Herrera S/S 15 collection

Sleeve focus example 2 from Carolina Herrera S/S 15 collection

Carolina Herrera S/S 15 lemon suit

Sleeve focus example 1 from Carolina Herrera S/S 15 collection


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Kerry’s Diary Entry – Down a Creative Side Track

I’ve been in the studio playing with new ideas and coming up with different designs. It’s nice to get back to that again.

As well as fashion design I’ve also been playing a bit with other creative avenues. I’ve been planning my wedding with Mr CS and it has allowed me (given me the excuse) to stretch my creative wings in different directions.

I love flowers and floristry, so I thought, why not?! I have developed quite a specific idea through photos in magazines and pinterest regarding what I want at the wedding, flower wise for bouquet and table decor. So through the help of You tube videos, a couple of books I’ve purchased and some tips from a friend who’s been on a flower course I started to experiment and practice.

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First go at a hand tied bouquet

To start practicing and trying techniques out I bought some flowers that were not in the best state (heavily discounted – end of shelf life). I thought I’d share with you some of my first experiements!

hand tied bouquet

Second bouquet trial – again, hand tied

You can see in the bouquets I was squeezing the stalks together too tightly – resulting in the flowers being squashed together.

I then went on to try a different way of creating a bouquet because I really want to have a cascading bouquet for the wedding. For this I purchased a handle. This comes with foam in it which you soak and then insert the foliage and flowers.

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Foiliage plus roses

This is the start of building up a shape on the bouquet holder:IMG_0172

Here I am trialling and creating a shape out for a table display:Flower display yellow and white

So I am definately no expert, but I have enjoyed my foray into floristry. It won’t be for everyone and I’m yet to do it for the wedding – I will let you know how that goes!

 

 


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Needing a bit of Inspiration?

Read on, there are lot of fantastic exhibitions in 2015 that should inspire you or at least stir some grey cells!

Fashion, art, textiles and clothing exhibitions

in 2015 and beyond!

(London, NYC and Paris)

(if there is a fantastic fashion or art exhibition near you then do let me know!!)

On NOW:

LONDON:

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden, Tate Modern, 5th February – 10th May 2015 Art

I first encountered Marlene Dumas’ work in New York at the MoMa museum. I found her work strange and beautiful, refreshing and stark, modern and classic. I had to have the book Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave when I saw it in NYC. I am booking tickets for this exhibit in London.

Fashion Rules Exhibition – (till July 4th 2015) – Royal gowns on display at Kensington Palace

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – The V&A (14th March – 19th July 2015) – This is a must see fashion exhibition

I loved it when I was lucky enough to see it NYC. I’m so pleased it has made it across to London where it belongs!!

get your tickets here NOW

What is luxury?  – The V&A (25th April – 27th September 2015) A variety of craft discipline from haute couture to a watchmaker. This exhibition will explore the future of luxury ask questions about its role in society.

Fashion on the Ration: 1940s street style – The Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ (March 5th – August 31st 2015) £10 10am till 6pm

Sargent: Portraits of Artist and Friends – National Portrait Gallery 12th Feb – 25th May

Coming Up……

 

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon – National Portrait Gallery, (2nd July – 18th October 2015) £9

 

 

Shifting Patterns: Pacific Barkcloth Clothing – British Museum, Free

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain – V&A – (Sat June 13th to Sunday Jan 13th 2016) £12

Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture For A Modern World – Tate Britain (24th June – 25th October 2015) This is the first major exhibition in London for almost 50 years of the work by Barbara Hepworth. I love Hepworth’s work and find it to be very inspiring as a designer, especially her sculptures.

If you are ever in Cornwall, go to St Ives, her home, garden and art studio are well worth a visit.

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture – Tate Modern (11th Nov 2015 – 3rd April 2016)

In my eyes his work is so contemporary, it would easily fit into any modern minimalist home. Get ahead of the crowd with this book Calder (Album Series).

Liverpool

Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots – Tate Liverpool (30th June – 18th October 2015)

Piet Mondrian – Tate Liverpool (June 6th – Oct 5th 2015)

PARIS:

Jeanne Lanvin – The Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion (March 8th – August 23rd 2015)
Fashion Mix Musee de l’histoire de l’immigration (till 31st May 2015) = Palais de la porte doree

Jean Paul Gaultier (Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (from 1st March till 3rd August 2015)

Déboutonnez La Mode(Unbuttoning Fashion!)- Les Arts Decoratifs
Doesn’t sound exciting but the pictures of some of the buttons are beautiful (12th feb – sunday 19th July 2015)

The David Bowie ExhibitPhilharmonie de Paris/ Cité de la Musique, Paris, France from 2 March to 31 May 2015

NYC:

Female, Artist, NYC, Exhibition

Frida Kahlo exhibition at The New York Botanical Gardens 2015

Friday Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life – The New York Botanical Gardens (May 16th – 1st November 2015)

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe – The Brooklyn Museum: Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor (September 10, 2014–February 15, 2015)

China Through The Looking Glass – The Met Museum (7th May – 16th August 2015)

Exploring the Chinese influence on western fashions. The exhibition will juxtopose high fashion with Chinese objects.

Sadly I will miss this one, I do with the big fashion exhibitions would go on for a bit longer. 4 months is not long at all and I think fashion exhibitions are a big draw for those going to the visit the museums.

and whilst you are there (because the entry fee to the museum includes everything) go and see;

Van Gogh: Irises and Roses paintings May 12 – August 16th 2015

and

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and friends June 30th – October 4th  2015

One of my favorite galleries in NYC is the Neue Galerie. They still have the  Woman in Gold exhibition on untill 7th September 2015

Fashioning the body: An Intimate History of the Silhouette  – The Bard Graduate Center Gallery (untill 26th July 2015)

I saw this in Paris at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. The Curator Denis Bruna has brought it NYC and it illustrates the way humans have changed and sculpted their bodies throughout time

Ralph Pucci, The Art of the MannequinMAD Museum (Till 30th August) Exploring the work of Ralph Pucci.

Alice: 150 years of Wonderland – The Morgan Library and Museum (26th June – 11th October 2015)

The original manuscript travels from London to NYC for this exhibit with vintage photos, origional drawings and letters

Leighton’s Flaming June – The Frick Collection (9th June – 6th Sept 2015)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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London exhibition Wellcome Collection


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Welcome Wellcome – Let Curiosity Get The Better of You

On Friday I went to the Wellcome Collection in London which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a gallery/museum that is a little bit different to others. As a designer and being a curious person I enjoy going to exhibitions and learning new things. I find that inspiration can come from anywhere, you never know when the creative spark may happen!

The main exhibition they have on at the moment is called Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime. It takes you through the development of the different areas of forensics through time. You can look at an 18th Century miniature scaled model of a house that has a murder scene in it (the set of houses are still used in Forensic Police training today).

London exhibition Wellcome Collection

One of the Wellcome collection brochures for the Forensics Exhibit

They showed the development of the autopsy. Then taking you right through to today with current developments in virtual autopsies the ‘virtopsy’. You could see the first crime scene photographs and listen to experts explain how it works in their part of forensics. It was very interesting. I really would have liked to have heard a lot more about each of the areas in depth but I’m guessing that would have made it a huge exhibition!

I love a gallery or museum shop. In the Wellcome Collection they had a great range of books that seemed quite different than you can find elsewhere. They also had an unusual selection of gifts and bits and pieces to buy. I could have bought a lot but in the end I bought 1 book!

I would definitely recommend this FREE exhibition as you will certainly learn a lot!

They also have a great little cafe that gets very busy. I wanted to eat in the restaurant upstairs (it looks nice) but I was too early for dinner (starts at 6pm) and I didn’t fancy afternoon tea.

Staircase Wellcome Collection

I love this main staircase in the Wellcome Collection

Reading Room, London

The stairs in The Reading Room at the Wellcome Collection


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Fashion Weeks – Are they in your diary?

These are the first Fashion Weeks for 2015. You can follow the Fashion shows as they happen throughout the weeks on Vogue, style.com and lots of designers have live streaming these days.

Showing A/W 2015 Fashion:

NYC 12th – 19th February 2015

London 20th – 24th February 2015

Milan 25th February – 2nd March 2015

Paris 4th – 11th March 2015

Istanbul and Tokyo 16th – 21st March 2015

Mumbai and Shenzhen 20th – 24th March 2015

Toronto 23rd – 27th March 2015

Moscow 26th – 30th March 2015

Sydney 12th – 16th April 2015

 

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