For this years Spring/Summer offering I started by looking back to my university Pre-Collection from 2018. It included shapes and structure that have remained appealing to me; the ruffled and dishevelled skirts that were based upon Victorian undergarments have been something I've wanted to re-create as more affordable daywear for some time. So the black & white cotton skirts you see are a staple I'm thrilled to introduce. Wearability is something I'm very conscious of. I'm always aware that I make silly clothes that are hard to put on... but I still want them to be pieces people are thrilled to own and wear. The Victorian undergarments theme continues (of course) through the bloomer jumpsuit, a piece that can be worn as a wide legged jumpsuit, or or tied up to be a more traditional bloomer. Many of the pieces from the collection stemmed from these initial ideas and are based off historical undergarments and nightwear in some way. Hot Victorian Summer!
Of course the star of this collection is my darling cat Theodore who I've had immortalised by the wonderful illustrator and fellow UCA alumni Sally Mankee. As the centre of my universe and a true internet sensation, who wouldn't want to wear him on a t-shirt or corset. You will notice that a difference in this collection is it isn't very corset heavy. While I still adore the corsets and how fabulous they look, the Theodore Corset Top is the only one in this collection. I've never wanted Cat O'Brien to be a solely corset brand, and hopefully you love all the other pieces too!
As always, sustainability is the focus of all garments I make. All the fabrics are deadstock or vintage and secondhand. The red long sleeve dress is made from a vintage tablecloth, as is the extravagant Edwardian white lace nightgown. The pink tassel trim on the Theodore corset and upcycled shoes is vintage upholstery trim. And as usual all the beautiful linens and satins are deadstock from brands and factories that were discarding them. Anything printed has been done so mindfully with eco safe inks in the UK.
I could go on forever about this new output, but essentially this SS22 is about beautiful simple garments with Cat O'Brien twists that are wearable, sexy, and still stay true to the Victorian shapes I adore.
I hope you enjoy!
Huge thanks as always to all the wonderful people that helped this collection come together.
Photographer: Emily Morgan
MUA: Lucia Hannam
Photography Assistant: Hafsah Mukadam
Fashion Assistant: Scout Macpherson
Studio Assistant: Gabriela Wyszynska
Jewellery: Ray Makes Things
Shoes: Upcycled by Cat O'Brien
Theodore Illustration: Sally Mankee
Leopard Print Illustration: Ashmita Bissessur
EXPLORE OUR PREVIOUS COLLECTIONS BELOW.
This new collection has been a long time in the making, and is a capsule of mix and match appropriate "core" pieces, that I see as essentials for Cat O'Brien. The elements of the brand that are integral still persist, plenty of historical references and attention to period details, while remaining as sexy and sustainably conscious as ever.
The collection consists of the corsets we've come to be known for, alongside plenty of new pieces to help the brand grow with me. The highly coveted lace-up skirts and a Victorian Bomber Jacket that has been adapted from a previous collection lead the way for the new pieces. I want the wearability and enduring style of my brand to be paramount at all times, so there are some things you will recognise popping back up, the 18thC blouses return as you know them, and as you've never seen them before. I commissioned a signature Leopard Print and Toile de Jouy print from young artists Ashmita Bissessuer and Georgie Collinson respectively last year, and I'm thrilled to finally get them out there as I'd always imagined (although you may recognise them from the Halloween colour ways I had them out in, in October 2020).
I have worked with a talented metalwork artist Tamzin Schneeberger to perfect a brass belt buckle we can finally sell, having teased it since last A/W. I am thrilled to be able to support the work of other young artists and continue to use deadstock fabric and sustainable practices throughout the body of work.
The collection is a labour of love that has been a long time coming, and is available to shop now (here)!
I worked with a wonderful talented team on this project, without whom the output that I am so proud of would never have been possible.
Photographer: Ant Belle
Assistant: Lucy Ratcliff
MUA: Shane Preston
Cat's Leopard Print designed by Ash Bissessur
Cat's Toile de Jouy designed by Georgie Collinson
Belt Buckle designed by Tamzin Schneeberger
Shoes by Cat O'Brien & styling pieces all from my personal collection of vintage and Victorian accessories.
Cat's Halloween Party
Huge thanks to all the wonderful women that helped me bring this collection to life! I'm so thrilled to have been able to work with these people, especially with three of them being UCA alumni too.
Green & Black 'Halloween de jouy' French inspired illustrations: Georgie Collinson
Red & Orange Halloween Leopard Print: Ashmita Bissessur
Brass Cat O'Brien Logo Belt Buckle: Tamzin Schneeberger
Leopard Print Clay Earrings: La Palette Studio
Designs, styling, construction, photographs, and stunning modelling all Cat O'Brien
Postcards From Lockdown
summer 2020 collection
Designs, Styling, Creative Direction, Drawings, and incredible graphic design: Cat O'Brien
Photography: Belle O'Brien