London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Orla Kiely

Forever cute. September 17th 2011, Somerset House

Written by Satu Fox


Illustrations by Yelena Bryksenkova.

The Orla Kiely presentation gets more popular every year and I’m sure it’s not just because they always have pastries there, no matter what time of day – our lovely illustrators were keen to draw her collection too and we didn’t even give them pastries. This year Orla dispensed with models entirely in favour of just having people who offer you food, i.e. they’re playing to their strengths. Cardboard cutouts of the cute, preppy frocks are there but take a back seat – in fact I almost forgot to take any photographs of them but funnily enough took lots of the retro tubs of popcorn constantly on hand.

Eating the pastries turned out to be a rookie mistake as I instantly sugar crashed and was later found by a colleague slumped over in the press room using a bag of crisps as a pillow. But before I slipped into a sugar coma, I vaguely remember watching a video presentation (which you can watch here) that takes the very orange-and-brown-print 1970s style of Orla Kiely back a decade to the 1960s, specifically Swinging Sixties London.

It’s made by Gia Coppola, who is indeed related to those other Coppolas, although the vid is much more jaunty than The Virgin Suicides or The Godfather. Actually I haven’t seen those films (I know, GASP) but I’m guessing they are a tad more intense than a video of a smiling blonde lady running around town in miniskirts. Correct me if I’m wrong though.

I was underwhelmed by the video presentation to be honest but it doesn’t dent my love for Orla. In a season where everything is once again colourful and sweet as a cupcake on a stick (yes, they had these – whose amazing idea was it to put it on a stick?) I think the wave of appreciation for Orla has reached its frothy, bubbly apex and the label is being seen as less twee and more wearable by fashion types. It’s definitely for girly girls and you wouldn’t find one of its collared dresses or frilled bikinis in the same wardrobe as anything from Hannah Marshall, but variety is the spice of life and if everyone wore clothing inspired by the insides of squid etc. it wouldn’t look cool anymore so really the edgy people should be grateful to us. But ARE they? No.

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One Response to “London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Orla Kiely”

  1. I esp love the illustrations for this! lovely!

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