Up a winding staircase, past the lingerie gallery and through the double doors is a little haven of peace amid all the Fashion Week bustle – the deafening sounds of heels on cobbles and people falling off heels onto cobbles. A far cry from the edgier delights of On|Off or even the main tent, Orla Kiely’s presentation promises a cosy, romantic alternative world, with clothes you might want to wear despite not being Lady Gaga.
In a 70s suburbia-inspired set of mini rooms, some rather desperate-looking housewives/models show off the super-pretty clothes and bags that are Kiely’s forte, but recently the collections have been becoming a little more interesting and a lot more covetable. I used to consider Orla Kiely to be in the Boden stable of clothes; nice enough, but more what you’d wear for a country walk with your granny than for any normal, civilised activity.
What is this item of furniture? I want one!
My ears pricked up a little when I saw last year’s crop of mustard-yellow duffle coats and colourful dresses, and things have only got better it seems. Fashion is on the lookout for a crown princess to replace Luella’s deposed Queen of Sweetness, and maybe with a little bit more playfulness, this could be the label for the job. There was also a hint of a nod in Luella’s direction in the velvet-trimmed checked suit. Again, it straighter down the line than Luella would have made it, but if you miss her so much already you feel you want to cry, this could be a place to start drying those tears.
Behind the scenes, the label’s employees, who darted in and out, tweaking things, also looked yummy and I noticed the girls were all in mid-heel strappy wedges in red or tan leather. A bit more manageable than the platforms on the models as the mega-high-heel is one trend that just won’t die (unlike the shoulder trend, which seems to have crawled under a rock somewhere).
My approval is not easy to buy but fresh pastries and the offer of a coffee did butter me up a bit, as these items were in short supply elsewhere at Somerset House. Drinks that were available included this ‘pre-tox drink’, which sounds distinctly unhealthy. I’m wondering who I can fob this off onto now as I foolishly carried it all the way home.
Full disclosure: they also gave me some chocolates, some coasters and a nice bag. Orla Kiely World is a very pleasant place to be, unless you are pretending to be a valium-soaked 70s housewife. That doesn’t look very fun. Admittedly, I’d feel a bit awkward if my job was to stand incredibly still while burly men photographed me from surprising angles and random girls munched pastries while staring at my feet. Oh, fashion world!
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