Happy Easter to all my readers! To celebrate, I bring you some shots of my Orla Kiely bird print dress – rather seasonally appropriate, don’t you think?
My love of Orla Kiely’s retro, feminine designs is well-documented, so when I heard she was having a sample sale in London, I did a little jig. I braved the cold on a snowy Saturday morning a few weeks ago and made my way to Clapham for the sale. It was so popular, they were operating a one-in-one-out door policy. Watching the shoppers emerge with their bags of goodies as we waited was torture, but I was rewarded for my patience with two bargain frocks, including this adorable and suitably springlike bird print dress.
Regular readers will know my love of feminine cuts and girly prints, and this dress had me at hello. Orla Kiely is well known for her use of vintage-inspired patterns, particularly her now-iconic leaf print. The print of this dress looked like smudgy, irregular spots from a distance but is actually made up of little stylised mink and cream birds.
It is Kiely’s attention to detail that, to me, makes her a standout designer. Real care goes into the cuts – strategically placed darts, tucks and pleats flatter the feminine form; high quality fabrics complement style and fit; and extra details – collars, buttons and bows – are the icing on the sartorial cake.
This dress summed that up for me. My penchant for peter pan collars needs no expounding, but the scalloped peter pan collar on this dress has got to be one of the prettiest I’ve come across. I have a bit of a thing for buttons too (I called them ‘ballies’ when I was wee) and the delicate, perfectly round buttons form a feature on the back of this dress. The construction shows real work too: the retro, voluminous sheer bell sleeves are balanced by a neat nipped-in waist and delicate pleats.
Needless to say, I was perfectly pleased with my purchases. I’ll be sure to share my other dress with you soon. This one was £70 at the sample sale, frankly a bargain for a designer frock, so I thoroughly recommend a visit to the next one! For its first outing I wanted to continue the retro vibe, and channeled sixties style with a messy beehive, ruby lips and my oxblood Cambridge satchel.
I wore my bird print dress for a day spent exploring the Natural History Museum. If you’ve never been, and happen to be in London, I recommend a trip – it’s a fantastic collection of fascinating artefacts, and a great (free!) day out in a stunning setting.
If you can only fit in a flying visit, the Treasures Collection in the Cadogan Gallery is well worth a look, housing a carefully curated collection of some of the museum’s most intriguing and historically significant artefacts – from a dodo skeleton to a first edition of Darwin’s On The Origin of Species.
The museum is still as much at the forefront of science and curation as it was when it was founded, leading research and recording up-to-date discoveries, as well as using engaging technology throughout the museum itself. This is juxtaposed with the building’s grand architecture and historical displays, emphasising the importance of the museum itself as a cultural artefact.