Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ms. Red Flashback part 8: photos of my previous work

This was the first ever professional photo shoot that featured my Penelope Red designs. It was so exciting to see my designs come alive in front of the camera, and it gave me the confidence to start dreaming BIG!

The designs featured in this collection are a part of "The Red Sun Collection", which can be found on the Penelope Red Website.

I am currently organising another shoot for the Spring/Summer Collection for 2011-2012, and it is nice to look back and see where the Penelope Red photo shoots started.

I was lucky to work with some very talented people in this shoot:

Photography: Milena from I Love Wednesdays
MUA: Nat Biller Make Up
Model: Amy Lyn Cage

The designs included in this collection:

Photo 1- Coral Kimono

Photo 2- Tokyo Sydney Wrap Around Catsuit in a floral print

Photo 3- Monet Printed Pleated Blouse & White Flared Shorts

Photo 4- Black on Black Bustier Top & Mint Blue Skies Skirt

Photo 5- Orange Floral Corset

Photo 6- Paris Bow Top

Photo 7- Vintage Printed Kimono

All of these designs have been sold out- of course- and I have created more exciting designs since. You can find more designs available to purchase in the Penelope Red Australian Dollar Big Cartel Online Shop or the American Dollar USD Etsy Online Shop.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kiran's Sari-Inspired Wedding Dress, Part 3: East meets West

A while ago, I started to design and create a wedding dress for my friend, Kiran. I now have some photos from the day to show you the finished dress!

Kiran and I both agreed that we wanted to include her Indian-Australian culture in this design, so as the name of this post implies, we mixed a little bit of east and west culture into the dress. I created a western style dress, using the eastern beaded sari and created an eastern influenced over skirt.

You can take a look at part 1 and part 2 of this dress, where you can see the making of, and how it all started. Also, I have now created videos of the making of this design, and you can view them on the Penelope Red youtube channel here. There are three parts to the video.

The wedding took place in Byron Bay, Australia.

I am so happy with how it turned out! I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful lady to wear this design, as I think Kiran looks perfect in it.

The dress awaiting its big debut!

The happy couple!

The back of the dress was going to be just as important as the front, since during the ceremony most people see this. I decided to create this interesting contrasting panel on the overskirt in pink, and make some really interesting shapes from it. There is beading all over the sari, a beaded trim at the back hem of the over skirt, and beading on the back of the dress, at the top.

I think it is almost safe to say that this is probably my most favourite design I have ever done so far, or at least in the top two or three. I have to admit, my tailored coats or winter dress do come very very close, but I can't help but love the decadence of this design!

If only I could find an excuse to make another one for myself!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Inspiration for the Penelope Red Spring Summer Collection 2011-2012

Every time I start a new collection, I like to think of a theme, or an inspiration that captures my imagination. For a long time I have been envisaging this idea in my head, and I really just can't wait to see it happen before my eyes when the photo shoot is taking place.

As I design, I first like to think about what the whole look and feel of the photo shoot will be about- I guess this is a starting point, and then I work backwards.

I also like to try and mix inspirations together, so I can come up with something original.

The first inspiration, picured above is of a painting by Eugene-Auguste Francois Deully. Unfortunately there is not a lot of information on the net about this artist, and even when I look up the painting, it has two separate names. I will go by the name of "The Flower Seller".

I liked "The Flower Seller" because it has many beautiful colours, it has a pretty scene, and I think it is a fun, optimistic painting- something that I want the photo shoot to be about.

My textile agent also happened to be selling a lot of floral fabrics, and I thought they would go perfectly with this inspiration.

The other inspiration so far is Marie Antoinette. I guess a lot of people will presume it is becuase I liked the movie of the same name, starring Kirsten Dunst. I agree that the costumes and scenery was amazing, but the actual movie itself was not my kind of film.

I guess I am more inspired by the colours, the decadence, and after visiting the place in which she grew up, in Austria, who wouldn't be inspired!?

So, I now need to take all of this inspiration, colours, ideas, fabrics, and make it into a modern Penelope Red collection! Not an easy task, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

City Snapshot: Berlin

I have been a little sick for the past few weeks- on and off. One of the reasons why this blog has not had many posts (the other reason is I have been too busy!). When you are sick there isn't too much to do but watch movies and read. Being a creative person, I find sitting and doing nothing really difficult, so I have a little more time now to blog...

I have been looking through some of my old photos recently, and I realised that I haven't finished doing my city snapshots. It is a fun excuse to look back at my travels and show you! So without further ado, here is my city snapshot of Berlin!

I visited Berlin over 6 years ago. This was around the same time I visited Paris, Rome, Vienna and Budapest on my own. So because of the time lapse, I can't tell you the names of the buildings or other landmarks, but I can tell you a little bit about the impression Berlin gave me.

Every time I have been to Germany, the locals have always been the friendliest I have ever met when travelling- and Berlin seemed to be no exception.

I can remember some of them mistook me for being one of them- which is always quite funny when they start speaking, and I reply in my Aussie accent, "Sprecken ze English?". This kind of happened to me all over Northern Europe.

They had loads of war memorials, "checkpoint Charlie" - where you once crossed from East to Western Europe, and loads of buildings where you could see the damage that bombs had made.

I thought it was really interesting how they had kept some of these bombed buildings- an old church, like the one pictured below- and created something new and exciting from it. Some of the old facade is still there, but from memory it had atleast three huge holes on the side where the bombs had hit it. The modern sky-scraper type building to the left is actually part of the church, and another part went through the middle of the church.

I guess it is a reminder of their past, but also a way of moving forward and looking to the future.

Berlin is very big city, with many suburbs. Some entirely modern, and others with buildings that probably hadn't changed for over 100 years- in Australian terms, that is a long time.

I was there in late March or early April, and the weather was perfect, as you can see. Much warmer compared to my first ever visit to Germany, in Frankfurt!

From memory, I quite enjoyed Berlin. It was easy to get around, clean, friendly people, great food, and full of a very interesting history and culture.

Obviously if you are a history buff, Berlin is one of the places you should go, but I think Berlin has much more to offer than just relics from the war. I think the modern parts of the city were very pretty (which is unusual for me to say- as I usually would say the older the better), or maybe its the ingenious way they have mixed their old and new together. Either way, if you were into architecture, perhaps Berlin would be a place for you to visit too.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Making of Lorelle's Bright Blue and Black Wool Winter Coat

The weather has been very cold recently- perfect for making coats! Recently I had fun creating a bright blue and black coat for Lorelle. As you may have seen in some of my previous postings, I put a lot of effort and time into making my designs- this is what sets my designs apart from many other designers out there.

Since it is so hard to tell people how much work is involved in these coats, I thought I would show you...

I decided to give this coat something extra, by placing embroidery down the seam lines in black- to contrast the bright blue.

Each button hole takes many steps: working out where they will sit, making the piping, sewing the piping to the outside of the coat, clipping, hand stitching the piping down. Then once the coat is finished, I need to hand stitch the inside to the piping, to open up the button holes.

I place pockets in each coat, on the side seam.

Each Penelope Red coat has many layers; outer layer in wool, interfacing (above), interlining in cotton (below) then a silk lining.

Some of the design details: contrasting shaped panels, embroidery, and pleating and fur trims.

Attaching the fur above, and attaching the collar below.

With so many layers, it is always important clip, notch, and trim all side seams.

Above, sewing the lining, and below shows how the embroidery is done- by my fantastic machine!

I do a lot of hand sewing in my coats- one of the reasons why they take so long to make, but it also means you are getting a truly unique and beautiful product. How many designers do you know have hand sewing in anything?

I hand sew all the seams flat, to make sure they sit flat and stay beautiful for a life time.

When the coat gets to this stage it really is exciting! Above, I am attaching the front outer side to the front inner side, which means I am almost finished!

...And the finished product! Lorelle was so excited that she had to wear it out straight away!