You will find me in the library

fashion art and sewing books in the studio
Kerry takes you for a snoop of her book shelves!

If you are interested in any of the books, artists or designers I featured in my little video clip then I’ve popped some links below so you can find out a bit more.

If you are in Essex or nearby and you want to visit my studio to see the books then you would be most welcome. Please contact me via my business website to book an appointment.

I know the books could be quite useful to a fashion or art student or someone learning to sew. I can send you a full list of books to select from. We have a colour photocopier in the studio and we charge 10p per copy (just to cover the ink and paper costs).

Books, artists and designers featured in the video:

Marlene Dumas

Book: Measuring The Grave


I went to see her exhibition ‘Measuring Your Own Grave’ at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)

Jean Paul Gaultier



Want to see the exhibition in New York? – get some info here

Alexander McQueen


Book: Savage Beauty

I went to see this exhibition at the Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)Want to see it in London – get some info here

Charles James

At the MET Museum where I saw this exhibition

Book: Beyond Fashion

Guy Bourdin

This is about an exhibition of his work I saw at the V & A

Book: Exhibit A

Ellen Von Unwerth

Book: Wicked – but there are other books with her work

A bit of info on Wikipedia!

John Galliano

A bit of info and updated news on the designer


Diary Update – of a fashion designer business!

We’ve been very busy! Only now have I had the time to sit down for this little diary re-cap.
We held a great competition with Pinstripe & Pearls giving everyone a chance to win a dress of their choice from our Silk Line Collection! The lucky winner was drawn 12 days ago and we sent her a lovely parcel. She chose the Ava dress.
The Winner’s Prize all packed up!
Ava dress
Ava Dress
We’ve moved into a new studio space. It was built especially for us. But this has taken a lot of energy and lugging stuff about. Only just getting sorted now a month later! See the build process here.IMG_4783
New Studio just after we moved in
Our sale has started on the website. Don’t miss out on some great price points for designer silk jersey dresses. All our pieces are made in Britain in our studio. See my top 4 fashion sale picks!
Rosa Blouse – a top sale pick!
I’ve been working on new collections – I have a very cosy new corner that I’ve covered in colours and images. I’m calling it Inspiration Corner!
Inspiration Corner
Last but not least we are launching a new range of scarves. The first one has landed and it is covered in beautiful Flamingos. Get your mittens on our limited edition 100% Spun Viscose scarves with my Flamingo print. I hand painted the Flamingos and then they were printed onto the scarves. We have only got 4. Once these have gone we won’t be able to get the Flamingos printed onto the Spun Viscose again. A shame, it’s a nice soft fabric.
Close up on the Flamingos

Oh and on a personal note, I’ve got a bit obsessed with my icecream maker and it’s been homemade gelato literally everyday! I’ve been using the allotment fruit. The raspberries and strawberries have made amazing gelato and sorbettos!

Yay homemade gelato
Yay homemade gelato

Watch out for more scarves on the way, new collections and other bits and pieces!!

The Clothing Sale Continues…..

Jo Jo Dress, mid length sleeve, navy

At Kerry O’Brine Womens Wear we have been in sale for a week with up to 35% discount off prices. We do still have some items left. The sale prices are a great opportunity to get your hands on some British made designer pieces.

My Top Four Fashion Sale Picks Are:

1. Jo Jo Dress: We have this dress in a medium (size 10-12) in navy. Navy is a great universally flattering colour and better than black for maturing skin tones!

The perfect mid-length sleeve and flattering high cowl neck; we are not sure why this is still left!! Was £300 Now £210

Lana Dress, Large, Navy, Long Sleeved

2. Lana Dress: This large size (14-16) dress is perfect for a curvy lady! The wrap dress style is flattering for most figures and the double layered neck line is designed for higher coverage. The long sleeves will take you through to Autumn. Just add 60 denier black tights and black court shoes for a great Autumnal transformation.

Grace Blouse in Ivory

3. Grace Blouse: This very popular silk blouse is such a versatile piece. Great worn with trousers or a skirt for a smart work outfit OR pair with some skinny jeans or casual skirt for laid-back luxury!

We have two left in the classic ivory colour – small and large!

Rosa blouse in blue

4. Rosa Blouse: Rosa is a slimmer cut version of the Grace blouse style with mid-length sleeves and turn back cuffs.  I love this blue color. I think it looks like a Mediterranean sky blue but others think it has a greeny hue about it. Either way, it’s perfect for the summer. We only have one medium left in the sale!


Don’t forget we still have free delivery and returns on all orders over £100.

The Fashion Studio Move Update!

So if you tried to call us or you made an order during mid-end May then you will know that the Kerry O’Brine Womens Wear studio has been on the move!

We have had a space purpose built for the business and it is very exciting times for us! The space is bigger, which will mean we can push on with a lot more things.  A month later we are still getting organised and moving bits into and around the studio. I’ve moved the book shelves for the second time! It’s not until you start working in somewhere that you find out if things work in the position you put them!


Day 1 they had joined and cut lots of wood but this is how the day ended!
pre-shed 4
Pre-studio concrete space
End of day 1
The area at the end of day 1


Here is the new studio after day 2 – the main frame is up.
Day 2 All the bits were put up and joined together!
The studio
Then the cedar cladding went on!


Day 3 the sun came out at last and they put the rubber roofing on.


The men are on the roof, putting it on!
The men are on the roof, putting it on!
End of day 3 – the roof is on. Just waiting for the doors and windows!
Day 4 – It’s all done! Doors and windows are in.
We moved a lot of the studio equipment in!
Final shed 2
Looking down the other end – you can see the window and storage space door!
Final shed shed
The storage space is open – yet to be filled!!

The building is clad in beautiful cedar wood – it smells divine and mixed with the smell of the roses growing outside – it’s like having a special fashion house perfume!

Things accumulate over time in a studio- images, paperwork, fabrics and lots of other bits and bobs. I’ve had to be ruthless about what came with us into the new space. We’ve now got more room but I wanted to leave space for things I couldn’t access easily before such as my collection of Vogues.

So in these pictures we have just popped all our stuff in! More organising to be done.

Go Beyond Fashion – an education

Although I spent the majority of the time feeling sick, I recently enjoyed a trip to NYC. Whilst my design studio has been packed up and moved (more on that another time) I took the opportunity to get away.

I often do blog entries about upcoming exhibitions and current galleries to visit. One of these I listed was the Charles James:Beyond Fashion exhibition at the Met Museum in NYC. As I was in NYC I thought I really must go and see it. I must admit that the only knowledge I had of Charles James’ work was his ball gowns in Cecil Beaton’s photographs (like the one below).

Charles James exhibition

But it turns out that Charles James is a designer I should have known more about. A very interesting designer and creative man. I was left feeling a bit guilty that he is not so well known as Dior and Chanel. Christian Dior called Charles James “the greatest talent of my generation” and his work was admired by other designers such as Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, and Cristóbal Balenciaga.
He is basically the first American Haute Couturier (almost Haute Couture – see this blog for a great description of the true meaning of Haute Couture – the mis-use of the words is one of my pet hates).
Back to the exhibition and how absolutely fabulous it was.
There are two parts to this exhibit. The first one you see the actual toiles in calico and a range of ball gowns. Charles James actually had the foresight to save his toiles for future designers/students to see. This in itself was very interesting for me and I would have loved to see more of these. It would have been amazing to have been able to see these more closely.
Then you go into a huge room. This room has low circular stands and on each circle stood a ball gown. This simple idea was exactly what I want in every fashion exhibition. To be able to walk around each ball gown 360 degrees, see the fastenings, see the back details and the front details. It is perfect.
The curators Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder should then get an extra star for the idea of the cameras. Each ball gown had a camera next to it which showed an x-ray of part of the garment on a screen next to it. The screen also showed an outline of the garment and peeled away each panel of the dress to show how it was constructed. For the work of Charles James this was particularly important as each dress was very architectural and creatively constructed. On the face of it a dress might have seemed chic and simple but underneath to create the desired shape the dress was cut, layered and structured in all sorts of ways.
The exhibit unveils amazing facts about the pieces. For instance the Swan Ballgown (1954) was made from 1058 square feet (100 square metres) of tulle. The skirt consists of 6 layers and the dress weighs 12 pounds / 5.44 kg). See the image below of the “Swan” and if you head to the Met website here you can see the original pattern pieces for the Swan Ballgown.

"Swan" Ball Gown by Charles James at Met Museum
“Swan” Ball Gown by Charles James at Met Museum
The second room which is in a completely separate part of the museum focused on Charles James dresses, suits and coats. This is the new fashion exhibition space: The Anna Wintour Costume Center’s Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery. Charles James was still very creative with the clothing patterns and construction. I would have loved for each of these to have had separate circular stands and individual cameras like the ball gowns but instead they were placed on a cross shaped platform. The backs of the garments were projected onto the walls so you still go to see both sides of the garments – it was just a bit harder to see and less spacious due to the amount of people. Then there were two very large screens displaying a rotating film about a selection of the garments in the room and how they were created.
What an exhibition and what an amazing designer.
The exhibit is only open until 10th August 2014. So it’s quite a short run for such a high profile exhibition.
If you can’t make it to the exhibition then take a look at the Met website. Here they have some videos – Watch the First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech and cutting the ribbon for the opening ceremony of the exhibition and the new Anna Wintour fashion exhibition space.
Take a look at some images of some pieces in the exhibition.
The Met website is a great resource. You can search their online catalog for various fashion designers and see the various pieces they hold in storage. Click on this link to head to there website where I have done a search for Charles James.

Fashion History Retro Spective

On my visits to NYC I always try and make a stop at the FIT Museum. This time was no exception. Great value (free!) exhibitions and always full of stunning pieces of current, modern and historical fashion.

IMG_2086At the moment they have the exhibition Retro Spective on. IMG_2090

Based around the subject of fashion borrowing from the past, Retro Spective demonstrates this referencing with fashion pieces placed next to historical ‘inspirational’ style pieces.

They demonstrated the recurrence of silhouettes from distant and recent past.

I thought this was an interesting subject matter, yet I was left underwhelmed with the exhibition. In hindsight I think this was due to the lack of depth that they went into. I feel that each small area they went into could have been much larger and more in-depth. I felt it skimmed the top of what could have been explored further and a bigger exhibition for the museum or an ongoing topic for several exhibits.

Mens jacket
Walter Van Beirendock: Relics of the Future outfit

A man’s ensemble by Walter Van Beirendock was displayed from the Summer 2006 Relics of the Future collection.

This was modeled on mens 18th Century jackets. Made from Raffia this jacket is adorned with dinosaurs and insects instead of traditional plants. I thought this was a charming and unique reference to the past.

A 1944 off white matte silk jersey dress by Madam Gres featured in the exhibition. Inspired by Neoclassical revivals and the fluting of ancient columns. Plus it also references the soft drapery of classical clothing.

Norman Norell 1962 red dress



An English white silk tricot dress with pink fringe and cord, circa 1810, demonstrated that going back into history fashion has referenced the past. This dress shows the Grecian influence on this empire waist dress. Next to this was a 1962 Norman Norell red dress made from wool crepe and satin. This dress echoed the same empire line as the 1810 English white silk tricot dress.





There was a fab pair of black leather and brocade boots circa 1900. Next to these old boots were a pair of 1965 black vinyl and black and white rubber boots. Such similarities in the design touches yet the fabrics and slight design changes brought the 1965 version into the 20th Century.

1900 Boot








1965 boot
1965 Boot









Other designers with pieces featured were YSL, Paco Rabanne and Lanvin.

Protecting Cashmere

Nice new cashmere jumper, sweater or dress?

If you have a cashmere jumper or cardigan that you want to store away for a while it is a good idea to keep it in a breathable cotton bag (I love Total Wardrobe Care for clothing storage solutions).

Always clean your clothes before packing them away for storage. You get rid of any hidden larvae or moth eggs as well as any smells or food stains that can attract insect attention. Moths love dirty clothes with sweat residue.

When keeping your cashmere in your wardrobe, closet or chest of drawers then use a little cushion, pillow, bag or sachet of dried lavender. The lavender makes everything smell pretty but the moths don’t like it and your cashmere will stay hole free. Take a look at my lavender cushions that I normally only offer at my pop up shops.

The lavender doesn’t kill moth larvae, moth eggs or moths, they just don’t like it. So lavender is a part of a preventative measure rather than post moth attack.

Another thing to note: clothes moths don’t like light, so they won’t be the ones you’ve seen flying around. The clothes moths like to nestle down in the dark warmth of your wardrobe.

As well as cashmere, moths love to nibble on all other natural fibres such as wool and silk.

If you love a bargain or thrifty second hand store purchase; be wary of moths and take measures to protect your wardrobe from anything that might be lurking in your new purchase. Perhaps keep the new piece in a sealed bag before getting it dry cleaned or washed in the machine. Don’t just introduce it straight into your closet!

If you’re looking for some gorgeous cashmere then it’s worth trying Pringle, House of Cashmere or Net a Porter

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