Peter O’Brien was born in London to Irish parents, returning to Ireland as a child. He left secondary school early, going to work in visual display in Dublin department stores. At 19, O'Brien moved to London and worked in display in Marshall & Snellgrove (now Debenhams). On the advice of British fashion editor Eve Pollard, he applied to Saint Martins School Of Art. He graduated with 1st class honors degree in Fashion Design. O'Brien then completed a post-graduate course at Parsons School of Design in New York. Upon graduating, O'Brien moved to Paris where he worked at Christian Dior under Marc Bohan, at Givenchy, and as a senior designer at Chloé . In 1989 he was appointed creative director at Rochas, where he remained for 12 years, designing women’s wear and accessories, and overseeing menswear, perfumes and licenses. O'Brien returned to Ireland in 2004 where he has since been working as a freelance designer, creating collections first for retailer AWear and now an exclusive capsule collection for Arnotts department store.

In 2005, O'Brien started designing for theater, utilizing his skills honed in the ateliers of Paris and calling on the services of a unique range of craftspeople and suppliers from his years working abroad. To date he has designed the costumes for numerous plays at Dublin’s Gate Theatre, including ‘Lady Wyndemere’s Fan’, ‘The Constant Wife’, ‘Private Lives’, ‘Present Laughter’. He has also designed costumes for ‘Pygmalion‘,  at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

In 2012, fine art printers and book publishers Stoney Road Press launched a limited-edition, hand-printed book of O’Brien’s theatre and fashion drawings spanning 30 years and titled ‘Workbook. The Peter O'Brien Workbook contains gicleé prints of pencil drawings, rough sketches, fashion illustrations, watercolours and theatre costume designs. It also includes five hand-printed etchings. The text is from a conversation between O'Brien and the journalist Karl Treacy with an introduction by the milliner Stephen Jones OBE.

In 2013, he was costume designer on the film The Price of Desire directed by Mary McGuckian, based on the life of furniture designer and architect Eileen Gray.


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Workbook, 2010
Workbook, 2010
Peter O'Brien
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