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Orla Kiely: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Presentation Review

Orla Kiely's static presentation at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms on Saturday 16 February transported us to the sixties with a Mad Men/Made in Dagenham-esque performance…

Written by Matt Bramford

Orla Kiely A/W 2013 by Laura Hickman

Ireland’s Orla Kiely has firmly established her eponymous London label over the seasons with 1960s silhouettes, playful prints and rich fabrics. While the look book each season is never going to shock or win any awards for pushing the boundaries of fashion, style fans head to Orla for staple vintage pieces that are playful and pretty. But to judge Orla against the likes of Azzedine Alaïa or Hussein Chalayan would be missing the point. Always a nod to decades past, previous presentations have included film screenings directed by Gia Coppola and Mercedes Helnwein.

All photography by Matt Bramford

This season’s presentation took place in the intriguing Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, a gallery off Denmark Street that often hosts fashion press days; its labyrinth of rooms lend themselves well to presentations of this nature. A long arm of the upper floor had been transformed into a retro working-girl’s space that could have been lifted straight from a scene from Mad Men or working-class hero flick Made in Dagenham.

Orla Kiely A/W 2013 by Dom&Ink

Numerous models appeared at the entrance to the elongated space wearing this season’s take on Orla’s signature looks, as an unobtrusive soundtrack made up mostly of the clatter of a typewriter played. Beehive barnets piled high atop models’ heads. Orla’s girls were superbly cast, more as actresses than runway models: loading typewriters, filing paperwork, nattering quietly and changing ‘shifts’ regularly to allow other models to enter the showcase.

Orla Kiely A/W 2013 by Laura Hickman

Attention to detail was key, with design perverts like me eyeing up mid-century Scandinavian furniture, Smiths‘ clocks and old graphic signage as much as the outfits themselves.

Statement features this season include high-waisted dresses with girly a-line hems, flocked coats with swirling patterns, pleated and pointed collars, embroidered squirrels and a-line overcoats using Orla Kiely‘s signature shape.

Orla Kiely A/W 2013 by Dom&Ink

This kind of thoughtful, preciously executed presentation is the way forward. With never-ending developments in technology and record numbers at catwalk shows, presentations allow you to fully gage the nuances of collections and document them effectively, rather than the scramble to photograph, tweet, Facebook, Vine, MySpace, tumblr, Foursquare and Grindr your way through a catwalk show.

Orla Kiely A/W 2013 by Laura Hickman

Another infinitely wearable collection that will satisfy the label’s fans en masse.


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