O'Brien delivers with well-cut elegance and a flamboyant touch
“I LIKE the notion that clothes have a life,” said designer Peter O’Brien last night at the fashion show launching his third, 28-piece collection for Arnotts.
Majoring on the couture details that define his style, his new collection featured the skilfully engineered shoulderline and emphatic waist, double hemmed skirts and silk jacquard coat linings. “Those who like what I design don’t throw their clothes away,” he said.
Coats are flamboyantly shapely or, with dropped oversize shoulderline, more boyish in appearance. A familiar element, for example, is the Peter Pan collar, on slim longline knits or chiffon blouses.
Proportions are good: in the curved low-waisted heavy crepe dresses, cropped narrow grey flannel trousers, and in one stand-out two-tone flared grey coat. Apart from aubergine, the fact that there is relatively little colour is a practical issue, according to O’Brien. “It’s not that I don’t like colour, but that it becomes more complex if you start dyeing wool.”
In a new and welcome departure, this collection features Irish tweed from Magee in Donegal dominating the fabric mix along with his familiar duchesse satin, crepe de chine and wool flannel. The full, gathered skirts in tweed or silk may demand height and a slim shape, but classy camel coats with fly-fastened buttoning and tweed boyfriend jackets offer more linear silhouettes bypassing the waist.
The designer’s theatrical career continues apace. His costumes feature in Talk of the Town, about Maeve Brennan at the Project and he will be designing costumes for the Gate’s forthcoming production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce. He is guest lecturing in theatre design at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design Technology and his work for fashion house Chloe is also on display in a retrospective at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.