Entering the enchanting Orla Kiely presentation this Saturday was like stepping back in time. The setting – a retro typing pool in London’s Elms Lesters Painting Rooms – was empty at first, before models began to come and go before our eyes, working at desks with old typewriters and retro telephones.
The whole display gave new meaning to ‘office dressing’, which I’m sure I’ll never look at in the same way again now. Kiely’s sixties-inspired ensembles were elegant and ladylike, nostalgic but without being self-indulgent or veering towards costume drama. Inevitable comparisons to ‘Mad Men’ will proliferate I’m sure, and while I agree, I thought that these Peggy Olsens were a lot better dressed.
The collection personified Kiely’s clever take on retro influences, with a smattering of new, and perhaps unexpected, colours and textures – such as the delectable pink knitted dress below. A perfect balance of pretty and prim, vintage-style prints and collar details were feminine without being saccharine sweet. The flocked velvet jacquard, chevron knits and shearling (adorning a beautiful grey coat) added sumptuous texture.
The adorable animal prints – including the squirrel cardigan and mini embroidered animal cardigan were real hits for me! Witty and cute, the Orla Kiely girl refuses to grow up in style.
Throughout the relaxed and intimate presentation the models were the perfect actresses, working at their desks, typing, filing and chatting together, before occasionally treating viewers to a catwalk strut along the corridor of the office (note to self – you are not an Orla Kiely model!).
Kiely’s inspirations were many and varied this season, including fictional character Margot Tenenbaum from film The Royal Tenenbaums (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), Irish artist and craftsman Breon O’Casey and seventies flocked wallpaper. A mish-mash of influences indeed! Super stylist Leith Clark injected her unique magic into the collection, which was a joy to behold.
The cute T-bar patent shoes were by Kurt Geiger and I can’t wait until they hit the shops – best worn with a pair of white tights à la Orla Kiely. I’d better get working on my dishevelled beehive as well!
What was your favourite piece in the collection? I just can’t decide… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a collection where I would genuinely love to wear all of it! It’s a toss-up between the grey flower print dress, pink knitted dress and that animal print cardigan I think.