Style | Need To Now

Time-limited luxuries

An exquisite book of fashion illustrations by a renowned Irish designer

Bf65c7eb-073c-4499-8608-9e6defdb7344_sixty_square B8aeb017-f099-4f5c-9c97-b5a4d17d2edd_sixty_square
Time-limited luxuries

Image: Peter O'Brien

June 20 2011
Deirdre McQuillan

A new coffee-table book celebrating the artwork of an Irish fashion designer who is also a gifted illustrator is a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by the photographic image. The Peter OBrien Workbook, published by Stoney Road Press fine art publishers in Dublin, contains giclée prints of pencil drawings, rough sketches, fashion illustrations, watercolours and theatre-costume designs, as well as five handprinted etchings, by the Dublin-based designer.

O’Brien trained at St Martins in the 1970s (along with milliner Stephen Jones, singer Sade and journalist Sally Brampton) and remains the only graduate to have designed an haute couture collection under his own name in Paris. Armed with a first-class honours degree from London, O’Brien furthered his studies at Parsons in New York before moving to Paris, where he worked with Dior and Givenchy before moving to Chloé. He later became artistic director at Rochas, where he remained for 14 years before returning to Dublin.

Though he has made his name as a fashion designer and continues to create capsule collections twice a year in Ireland, in recent years O’Brien has been gaining a reputation for his illustrative work, which has the same elegance, flamboyance and rigour of line as his clothing. His flourishing work for theatre, designing costumes most recently for a sell-out production of Pygmalion at The Abbey Theatre, has brought him further acclaim. The book includes the transcript of a conversation between him and the journalist Karl Treacy.

A collector’s item limited to 100 copies, the Peter O’Brien Workbook, with an introduction by Stephen Jones OBE, is handbound with a green linen slipcase and costs €1,500.