Ornamental Lacework

Ornament has been evident in the human civilisation since the beginning of recorded history. Drawing inspiration from the heritage of Decorative Arts, as well as the craft of lacework, both traditions were juxtaposed together within this series in search of modern and eclectic design solutions. Furthermore, it explores creative ways to revisit and reinterpret some of the encountered themes and motifs and introduce them to a contemporary audience.  

This pro­ject was a part of my ongo­ing col­lab­or­a­tion with Kidspattern. If you’d like to learn more about them please vis­it their web­site HERE. Alternatively, view the archive of our pre­vi­ous pro­jects HERE, in which I dis­cuss in detail the his­tory and nature of our work.

All cloth­ing-mockups presen­ted here are provided cour­tesy of Kidspattern and are used for visu­al­isa­tion pur­poses only.

Overview

This pat­tern case study is formed from a com­mis­sion for a client’s Spring- Summer Collection inspired by Decorative Arts. This theme, as well as the col­our palette, was com­mis­sioned for a total of two designs (view the oth­er here — Eclectic Folk)

The brief recom­men­ded fol­low­ing one of the cur­rent fash­ion trends, of print­ing a pat­tern that resembles a cer­tain type of fab­ric, as opposed to using that exact fab­ric in order to make an item of cloth­ing out of it.

Above, you can view an out­come of this rein­ter­pret­a­tion of lace in a ver­sion of the pat­tern, which was pur­chased by the cli­ent. A simple hexagon­al tex­ture was added on top of the white back­ground to imit­ate lace and to cre­ate a base for the place­ment of the oth­er orna­ments. These were then scattered and rotated around, blend­ing in for more of a tex­tured look. This print appears full and dec­or­at­ive even though it uses just one col­our to achieve that effect.

In an altern­at­ive col­our­way, the back­ground col­our was set to medi­um cor­al, which then turns the hexagon­al line of the lace­work to white. This not only rein­forces the asso­ci­ation to clas­sic lace, but makes the white embel­lish­ments really stand out. This is brought up to date by a use of a mod­ern ‘Living Coral’ palette, eclect­ic jux­ta­pos­i­tions and bold, over­size print solu­tions.

Starting Point

Here you can view the full col­our palette com­posed by Kidspattern for this series, ran­ging from tin­ted cor­als and then matched with accents of pinks.

Across Eurasia and the Mediterranean world there has been a rich and inter­con­nec­ted tra­di­tion of plant based orna­ment for over three thou­sand years. Thus, these ele­ments are influ­enced by clas­sic motifs, based on styl­ised flor­als and leaves.

Newborn Collection

In our work with Kidspattern we make sure that our designs are uni­ver­sal and can be applied across mul­tiple age groups and back­grounds with­in our client’s col­lec­tions.

In this ver­sion, the orna­ments were filled and recol­oured in a trans­ition­al man­ner (from light to dark), then arranged in a rosette and spaced out reg­u­larly on a white back­ground.

Browse Through Alternative Solutions

Below I’ve presen­ted a selec­tion of designs all aimed at the Newborn group. Apart from body­suits this would typ­ic­ally also include a Homeware Collection of items like baby blankets and oth­er accessor­ies. 

1)The ini­tial, simple pat­tern was recol­oured to fit a medi­um cor­al back­ground. The ele­ments were clustered closer togeth­er and now appear to have a mosa­ic effect. To keep the cost of print low, the num­ber of col­ours used was reduced to only two. 

2) In this stripy ver­sion of the pat­tern, all the orna­ments were arranged along thin, cor­al lines. The embel­lish­ments were recol­oured in a trans­ition­al man­ner, in sync with the pinks of the palette.

3) Next, the tulip shaped orna­ment was arranged meth­od­ic­ally into lines. Combined with its trans­ition­al ombré-like col­our­ing this cre­ates a vibrant, optic­al rhythm. The design is placed against the darkest of the cor­als and visu­al­ised on a baby blanket as part of design pack­age aimed at home­ware baby products. 

4) This time, the tulip-shaped ele­ment was reduced in size and repeated reg­u­larly to sug­gest an idea for this petite, sec­ond­ary print. Aiming to offer an altern­at­ive that matches the rest of the set, it was recol­oured to fit in with the pinks of the palette. The res­ult is this del­ic­ate, subtle pat­tern with a range of uses in mul­tiple age groups.

Lacework

The main dec­or­at­ive orna­ment was arranged in a lin­ear man­ner to emu­late a sense of an elab­or­ate lace. Here it is visu­al­ised in a large size on a sum­mer dress.

Next, the back­ground col­our switches to the medi­um cor­al and the arrange­ment of the orna­ments becomes more ver­tic­al and inter­mit­tent. Also, the over­all pat­tern was reduced in size and now has a cer­tain polka-dot rhythm to it. In this close up, you can observe a nice detail at play where some of the ele­ments are filled with dark­er cor­al whilst oth­ers blend into the back­ground and are filled with white. This treat­ment of the orna­ments resembles a dis­play of fancy jew­el pieces such as lav­ish brooches or big bedazzling ear­rings. 

Dark Background

This final arrange­ment is inspired by bor­der lace designs. Some of the ele­ments are filled in with white to add to the rhythm and weight of this design. Placing it on a dark back­ground also makes the lines sharp and clean. Lastly, the arrange­ment in hori­zont­al lines helps to read it as if these were strips of lace. 

Pattern in Print

Please browse through a selec­tion of examples of the Ornamental Lace pat­tern in print. These were pro­duced to launch the client’s over­all Spring-Summer col­lec­tion and to pro­mote it at trad­ing fairs. Apart from clothes aimed at kids 18 – 36 months old (on the right), I’ve also added a few samples from their Newborn group, which include body­suits and bibs (on the left).

What I found par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing about the last image, was how the over­all theme of lace was car­ried through by an addi­tion­al lay­er­ing of a pat­terned top with a trans­par­ent lace dress. As through­out the col­lec­tion, the same set of dec­or­at­ive ele­ments was used across all the pat­tern vari­ations ; hence this whole series has a con­sist­ent look, regard­less of the des­ig­nated age groups.

Please note that these images are provided cour­tesy of the cli­ent and Kidspattern and are used for port­fo­lio pur­poses only. 

« Let us have no machine-made orna­ment at all ; it is all bad and worth­less and ugly.«

Oscar Wilde_Pic
Oscar Wilde Irish poet and play­wright