Fashion designer Christopher O’Brien has been on The Style Examiner’s radar for a while. As such, it was with delight that we came across his most recent collection for Autumn/Winter 2012 being exhibited at London Fashion Week.
O’Brien completed an MA course in Fashion Design Menswear from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2011. His graduation collection was immediately recognised as showing tremendous potential and, as proof of O’Brien’s talent, it was entirely bought by the store Late Night Chameleon Cafe (LN-CC), becoming available alongside the work by established designers such as Dries Van Noten, Issey Miyake, Jil Sander, Maison Margiela, Balenciaga, Raf Simons, and many others.
If most young designers and graduates usually bask in the glow of immediate success caused by a candle that burns and gets extinguished intensely and swiftly, O’Brien has all the skills and qualities that can make him a designer to watch for a long while. As an example of his dedication to the fashion industry, while studying for his BA Hons in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins, he worked as an intern for large periods of time for Jonathan Saunders and Giorgio Armani. More recently, he worked for design advisor firm Jens Laugesen and, as he graduated, his talent was recognised by the British menswear label E. Tautz that offered him a designing position in March 2011.
In contrast to the commercial leaning of some of the brands he has worked for, O’Brien’s designs cleverly conceptualise the male silhouette through the manipulation and layering of fabrics in distinctive and yet restrained manners. The use of distressed and crinkled fabrics in each garment creates individual subtleties that are not immediately apparent in designs so seemingly minimalist at the first glance. In other words, whilst the spirit of the collection is in tune with ideas of minimalist menswear and traditional tailoring, O’Brien has developed a very original outlook by amalgamating diverse conventions, styles, and influences.
The designer admits that the variation of intense blues and whites in his garments is a direct influence from Francis Bacon’s ‘Man in Blue’ series of paintings. In this sense, his collections resort to the manipulation of fabric and layering, as well as to opposing hues such as muted blue and black against striking white, in order to convey an angular composition that engenders the male silhouette. However, as of this season, O’Brien has explored the potential to use this crinkled designs in womenswear and has added an elegant shade of light mint green to the collection.
With his sharp and yet subtle sartorial designs influenced by uniquely individual perceptions of art, Christopher O’Brien is a designer whose talent and working ethos are to be undoubtedly commended and closely followed.