OB’s Spring/Summer 2024 Mood Board: Nature-inspired Prints

For spring/summer 2024 the Oliver Bonas designers have been looking to the natural world, and you’ll find prints across our homeware, clothing and accessory collections that are inspired by all kinds of flora and fauna, from sea life through to safari.

Variations on markings found on animal skins and shells feature on vases, ceramic accessories, doormats and knitwear. Coral shapes can be found on jewellery stands and cushions, while zebra-inspired stripes blend into ikat waves across lampshades and seating. Tie dye techniques mimic fossil-like patterns and the dappling of sunlight across the ocean surface, while ocean-inspired botanicals appear on fashion and accessories.

Perfectly imperfect

The design teams wanted to focus on the imperfections and randomness found in nature, bringing it into our homeware and clothing products through a variety of materials and techniques such as tie-dye, mouth-blown glass, batik and marbling. The different techniques allowed for experimentation and playfulness.

‘Some prints were hand-drawn and painted using inks or brush pens,’ explains OB’s Head of Home & Gift Design Kate Butler, ‘while some were entirely digital and others were achieved through block printing and dip-dyeing. It was a very exploratory and creative process.’

The fashion teams were inspired by the sea and artists who create unique narratives using the natural world as their muse. ‘We looked at the colourful and luminous abstract photography of Paul Rousteau,’ says Senior Print Designer Danielle Williams, ‘and the mixed media landscapes caught by Leah Kennedy.’ Mineral textures were used to add depth and interest to clothing, while wavy graduated stripes are diffused for an almost painterly finish.

We wanted to see how we could interpret nature’s patterns with our distinctive OB lens. Specifically, we focused on patterns from shells and animal skins, but we didn’t want to be too literal, so we played with colour and scale to reimagine it.

– Kate Butler, Head of Home & Gift Design

The colour palette

The use of colour is very considered throughout. Ombre blending reminiscent of sunset skies sits alongside simple monochrome contrasts and earthy terracotta, weaving in the natural palette of the world around us. Integrating accents of natural tan and sandy tones was intentional and creates an elevated feel throughout our homeware, furniture and fashion collections.

‘We always like to use a variety of shades,’ explains Kate, ‘but this season we wanted to incorporate a thread of sophisticated monochrome to balance the vibrancy in the rest of our ranges.’ Rich, brighter pops sing out within our tie dye and ombre homeware collections, with fresh, vibrant greens appearing on dresses and shirts to celebrate the move into warmer weather.

Playing with scale and form

Nature motifs range from subtle to standout throughout the collections, and are used in a more stylised, design-led way. The use of scale is also important. Intricate, almost kaleidoscopic patterns sit alongside looser, larger scale prints, both creating their own dynamic, abstract feel.

‘In Fashion, what we traditionally class as animal print has been deconstructed and reimagined into patterns that could be interpreted either as plant or pelt,’ says Danielle. Classic leopard and zebra prints on dresses and knits have taken a sophisticated turn. Distorted inky spots that could just as easily be from a botanical or marine creature, or even a watercolour where the ink has run into the paper, have transformed the print into something organic and directional.

How to style them

How you introduce these prints into your space is entirely down to your personal aesthetic. You might liven up a neutral living area with a few pops of bold, shell-print cushions or a zebra-inspired vase, balancing the look with block colour and natural materials, or keeping prints within a similar tonal palette for a consistent theme. Similarly, off-setting a strong print on tops or jumpers with classic denim or plain separates allows the pattern to shine without taking over.

Maximalists, meanwhile, might opt for a sensory explosion of colour and print, creating a vibrant room infused with pattern and texture, or a bold printed dress that makes an impact from head to toe. Whatever your take, elements inspired by the natural world seem to invite the outdoors in, so welcome them into your home and wardrobe like a breath of fresh, new-season air.

Explore more

Behind the design: the tie dye & ombre collection

Behind the design: the Ocelot print

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