Friday, April 29, 2011

The Pallas Athene Wool Jacket

The Penelope Red Pallas Athene Fluted Wool Jacket is yet another brand new style that I have created especially for The Red Queen Collection.

The first two photos are from The Red Queen Collection photo shoot, which we took in The Wine Odyssey Restaurant.

I decided that I wanted to have some fun with this outfit, while taking photos of others. I wanted to try the Pallas Athene Jacket, with the Yellow and Cream Anukis Skirt, and I guess you could say, "make it my own" outfit.

I think the hat gives this outfit a very "equestrian" look, which I don't mind. I am wearing the Cream Bow-tie Blouse underneath the jacket, tucked into the Anukis Skirt. I decided to add a pair of brown fishnets to the outfit, since my legs are very pale. Also, since my hat is black, I wore black pumps with it to balance out the black.

I designed this jacket to have the fluted "peplum" since I noticed when customers would try on a bolero, they didn't necessarily suit every shape. The bolero wouldn't flatter women with larger hips, or a very short body, or a wide waist.

The shape of this jacket covers the wider hips, accentuates the waist and the longer line is more flattering on most shapes.

The sleeves are three quarter, and they feature the Penelope Red trademark of the spliced contrasting fabrics.

The fabrics included in this style are a cream, brown, yellow and orange wool check; contrasted by a plain brown wool.

As you can tell, I really like to add some really interesting details, including contrasting fabrics, spliced and split panel lines, fully lined in bright orange silk lining, and a few hand stitched touches as well. You can see the making of this design on the blog here.

I have enough fabric to create around 3 copies of this exact design. I will be making more copies in other fabrics. If you would like to enquire about ordering one, please email me on :

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Colour palette inspiration

The image below I took to show you how I sometimes get my ideas for a Penelope Red colour palette. Sometimes it happens by accident, like in the photo. I just happened to place these fabrics in the box, and I realised how beautiful they look together. I love the contrast of the bright blue and bright yellow, the softness of the pale yellow, and somehow the metallic braid and brown binding marry it all together...

I find inspiration for colour palettes in sometimes the most un-likely places; a group of bobbin reels in different colours that happen to be sitting with each other; a book case with lots of different coloured books together; a group of markers that I have out on the table; sometimes a beautiful sunset. Anything with lots of colour!

I would love to one day be designing my own prints, so I can then use these colour palettes frequently. Until then, I will need to use the fabrics and prints that are available to me- which believe me, are inspiration enough!

New Vintage Fabrics

When people have seen my designs at The Rocks Markets, or when I am wearing my Penelope Red designs out, most will ask me the same question, "Where do you get your fabrics from?". I know that my interesting fabrics and prints is what sets me apart from a lot of the other designers out there, so while I won't give away all of my secrets, I will share something with you...

I come from a long line of dressmaker's, and now that my Aunt's are getting past the stage of wanting to sew, they have decided to pass on their collection of fabrics to me! It only means great news for me and for my Penelope Red designs.

I have always loved vintage fabrics and prints- and they add an exclusive touch to my designs as no one else will have that fabric. Even when in was in TAFE, studying fashion design, I would visit the local op-shops and vintage stores, and collect beautiful pieces of fabric. Vintage fabrics is part of the Penelope Red aesthetic now, and around 50% of my fabrics and trims are vintage- especially after the latest editions.

The above photo and the below two photos are of fabrics collected from my Aunt Christine.
1. two cotton prints, and a beaded and sequinned trim.
2. printed linen, printed polyester and more beaded trims.
3. a black and blue jacquard and a printed cotton.

If you know anyone who likes to sew, you'll probably find out that we like to collect and hoard! Some people call it, "insulating the walls", other's call it, "fabric-holic". So when I meet a dressmaker who is giving up the trade, I always ask if they would like to sell their stash to me. The fabrics in the next image are from a recent "stash-buy". I love the printed wool (left), and the linen has come in handy (middle). The lace is probably my absolute favourite thing I acquired from this lady.

The fabrics above and below are from another aunt of mine, Aunt Patricia. All of these are cotton prints, and they will come in handy for the coming Spring/Summer- I can't wait to use them!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Outfit fun at The Rocks Markets!

One of the best parts about my work is that I get to meet many wonderful people while at The Rocks Markets. I have been very lucky to meet a few good friends since starting to sell there, and Leanne and her sister Lorelle, are two of them.

Leanne bought the Ikat Bolero (worn in the photo above) a few months ago, and wore it last weekend to show me how it looked on. I was so pleased with how it looked on her I had to take a photo. This bolero is a one-of-a-kind wool and jacquard cropped jacket, and I will be making more similar styles to this (in other fabrics) soon.

Since I was in the photo taking mood, here are a few others...

Leanne and I out the front of my Penelope Red market stand.

Leanne looked fantastic in this outfit, and many people commented when she tried this outfit on: the Black Silk Emilie Blouse and the black linen and purple Cairo Skirt.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just for fun: my outfit and visit to the Archibald Prize 2011

I always think that the art gallery or any museum is a chance to wear something a little special. I know most people will wear whatever they find on the day, but I kind of feel that the artworks or displays that I am going to see are very beautiful, and surrounded by beautiful buildings, and a lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to make it this way. I believe that dressing up shows a little bit of respect to the effort and thought that has gone into making such a display... Also, how many chances do we get to dress up these days in Sydney? Not many!

So, when I viewed the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW on Monday, I decided to wear my new Black and Cream Isis Blouse, and my Red Flared Pants. The pants I am wearing are my own personal pair that I made just for me, but if you like this look, you could get a similar look by wearing the Cosmopolitan Red Flared Pants with large bow.

I love the painting above. It sits in the foyer of the art gallery, and has so many colours! I would love to use this as inspiration for a print one day- or maybe even use sections of it to inspire the colours for a collection.

The weather was beautiful on Monday- a perfect autumn day! This is taken from the doorstep of the art gallery looking into the domain at the city.

Me and my Penelope Red outfit, out the front of the Art Gallery of NSW. I recommend going to see the Archibald Prize exhibition if you get the chance. I am not an art expert, and I don't usually like modern art as much, but I like this exhibition because it is about Australian personalities, and Australian Art.

Check out the shoes I am wearing... they are so comfortable- I walk in them every where now. They are from Nine West, and I love them!

The Black and Purple Cairo Skirt

The Black Silk Emilie Blouse is worn with the Black and Purple Cairo Skirt in each of these photos. I really LOVE this outfit!

When creating the skirt, I decided to include two lines of embroidery that highlighted the centre front panel.

I wanted the embroidery in black to still have an eastern feel to it, so I used a more geometric design.

The Penelope Red Cairo Skirt has been handmade from a black linen and purple silk/cotton blend. The draped black body creates a feminine line, the contrasting T-bar in purple around the waist and centre front, makes an elegant impact.

This design is part of the Red Queen Collection, inspired by Gustav Klimt paintings and Ancient Egyptian Costume. The one-shoulder look of the Black Silk Emilie Blouse, and the pleating on the skirt, reminds me of something an Egyptian Queen would wear. The vintage metallic braid and black embroidery help to convey a feel of eastern design, but they also remind me of Gustav Klimt paintings as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just for fun: yesterday's outfit!

After spending the morning taking loads of photos for the online shops of my designs, I had organised to meet a friend at a local sweets shop (my other weakness! 1st: fabric. 2nd: sweets!).

I really liked this outfit... this is about as casual as I like to go. If it isn't like this, then I am a complete train wreck in track suit pants and whatever top that isn't in the wash.

So, I liked this outfit so much that I wanted to share it with you.

1. Felt Cloche Hat: Forever New

2. Cream Bow Tie Blouse: Penelope Red

3. Olive Hathor Pencil Pants w high waist: Penelope Red- I will be adding these to the shop online soon!

4. Black Shoes: Nine West

5. Black Leather Bag: Oroton

I found these shoes in Nine West about a month ago. I wear them constantly now since they are so comfortable and easy to walk in.

The Oroton bag I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. I had always wanted a nice black bag that could hold a lot, but also a very classic style. I am not a fan of those big bunchy bags that resemble bowling bags. Smart, classic and sophisticated is my style, and therefore my bag!

When I met my friend, she asked me, "Penny, do you ever wear anything that isn't Penelope Red... besides jeans?", and I could confidently reply, "No!". I guess my designs for Penelope Red really is what I would like to wear- I design it because I love it myself.

So, I may start adding a few more outfits to this space!

The Paris Cowl Neck Top in Navy Blue and Red Jersey

I finally got my act together yesterday- I was inspired by the beautiful weather and thought it was a good opportunity to take the much needed photos of the latest Penelope Red designs.

Besides... it is a perfect excuse to get all dressed up, put on the make-up and feel glamorous even while being at home!

So, I can now introduce to you The Paris Cowl Neck Top, handmade from a jersey knit fabric in Navy Blue and Bright Red.

The style is based on the popular Pink Candy Stripe Cowl Neck Top, just in different colours.

I originally planned to add a random selection of white buttons to one side of the cowl, but people seem to like the top the way it already is, so I have left it. What do you think?

When taking the photos, I really like wearing it with the Olive Hathor pants- I know it isn't what you would assume would look great with it, but somehow it works! I like how the top tucked into the pants has a more vintage look to it, rather than worn with just a pair of jeans, but as they say... each to their own!

The red cowl neck on this style is quite dramatic and has a full drape, while the navy blue body creates a slim silhouette.

Whenever I design my styles, I always think about what would flatter the female shape the best. There are too many designers out there who seem to forget about flattering the female form, which I guess this is why I aspire to the old-fashioned designers, rather than to the new. They simply knew how to dress a lady back then!

I guess you could say my Paris Cowl Neck Top is yet another design that I have adapted from a vintage inspiration, and made it a modern design. Wear it with jeans and ballet flats for a modern and casual look; wear it with a high waisted skirt or one of my High Waisted Pencil Pants and heels for a vintage twist on a modern design!

You can buy the Paris Cowl Neck Top online in AUD (Australian Dollars) or USD (American Dollars).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Penelope Red Asymetric Blue Sakhmet Blouse

On the weekend, at the Rocks Markets, I wore the new Asymmetric Blue Sakhmet Blouse, and I felt like a million dollars in it, so I thought I might share it with you. The above photos was taken of my friend, Lorelle and myself. I am wearing the Olive Green Hathor Pencil Pants with the blouse (which will be featured soon).

I am very happy with this design- it is very different to any thing I have ever created, but still is very me. The bright blue rayon twill is very soft to wear, and the vintage metallic braid in black, silver and gold accents the colour well. The above and below photos were taken backstage while the photo shoot for The Red Queen Collection took place.

The Sakhmet Blouse has been handmade while being cut on the bias- it moulds to your body shape, but it won't be tight.

The Rocks Markets held a fashion parade last weekend, to showcase each designers latest Autumn/Winter designs, and my Penelope Red designs were featured in it. The model above and below wears the Asymetric Blue Sakhmet Blouse and Black Hathor Pencil Pants.

When designing this blouse, I wanted to create a top that had only one shoulder, but I hated the idea of seeing the wearer hitch it up every 5 minutes because it would be slipping from the bust. So I developed this "idea" of a one-shoulder, using an optical illusion- because of the braid, your eye follows that line up to the sleeve, and you see the other shoulder last.

It is a Penelope Red version of a one-shoulder top, but also bra-friendly! This style will be made in Australian sizes 8 to 18, and it is available in both the Australian Dollar online shop, or the American Dollar online shop.

This style is also avaialable in a black and purple version here:

You may be wondering where the name "Sakhmet" comes from. I named it after the Egyptian Goddess Sakhmet- this name is often translated as the "Powerful One". She is depicted as a lion-headed woman, and is often known as the Goddess of War. She was also known as the "Red Lady" (fitting hey?).

Ms. Red Flashback part 7: photos of my previous work

All that Jazz Dress
- a one of a kind design. Made from a stunning bright blue silk, sequinned lace and tassling. I guess I just wanted to try something different!

Another one of a kind design, handmade by myself, this time the Disco Nights black catsuit.

The Red, Black and White corset- the above photo is probably one of my favourites that my friend, Anna has taken of me. I think the corset, the angle, and the cloudy sky fits the mood perfectly.

Above, the Nouveau Silk Dress. I bought this fabric in Scotland, and I loved it!

Above, the Aqua Gathered Neck Blouse- such a versatile top, and very easy to wear.

When creating the above dress, I really really wanted to try something different! This dress is made from one continuous piece of fabric, pleated and shaped into a cowl necked dress.

The Disco Nights Catsuit has bust pieces in a contrasting sequinned and gold stretch fabric, as well as a random applique of this fabric that sits under the bust.