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.


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.


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