coffee + cre8tive {sept 19 '06}

Did you notice that Orla Kiely refreshed her site with clothing, handbags, and mugs for Fall/Winter '06? The update also includes a bit of a site redesign as well, so navigation is a bit easier than before. (The shipping charges to the states though, unfortunately, is still wayyy harsh.) I'm liking the mugs a lot, they come in perky prints and in sets of either 4 or 6. There's also an option to purchase a 6 pack of mugs with varied designs (vs. just one design). The mugs certainly are charming, but I crave more... I want to see the homewares section expand to include table runners, placemats, aprons, and everything that Orla can possibly print her fabulous designs on. I think placemats using the same laminated cotton canvas as her handbags would be perfect - easy clean up!

I thought I'd include a few fashion favorite shots from her collection, simply because I love how she seamlessly blends in unexpected shots of color to her ensembles; the goldenrod tights in the upper left photo are gorgeous. I also like the less-than-perfect setting, it appears to be a weathered farmhouse that is a bit dated, it really works.

When you look at fashion shots, you may want to study them, all the elements in the photo from the surroundings (buildings, pets, natural elements, other people in the background) to the accessories (jewelry, shoes, handbags, etc.). Notice the colors, fabrics, details (gold buttons for instance), and how things are layered. You can draw much inspiration for good room design from fashion. Pay attention to the foundation color they are using, and how they are building from it. It's fascinating if you can take a moment to pause and really peer deeply into something that intriques you, versus merely saying "Oh I love it" and running off to the next great thing. Try to investigate why you like it. What the designer is trying to tell you. How they are using the setting to tell a story, perhaps. The hues - how are they working together? What color scheme is being used (pull out your color wheel if you need to)? Asking such questions helps you to better train your eye so that, when you are decorating your own home, you can draw from what you've learned thumbing through the pages of magazines (or websites). I like to remove pages from magazines and catalogs and then, paste them into a sketch book. On the left side, I paste the page I am working from. On the right side, all of my notes regarding it. I cannot begin to tell you how these exercises build, not only your appreciation for design, but your own eye for color, texture, layering, etc. Try it. You'll see.

(images from orla kiely)