Read our interview with Orla Kiely, the incredible Irish designer whose iconic prints are hard to resist. Orla Kiely launched her Spring/Summer 2011 range at Somerset House for London Fashion Week last Friday, with an inspirational video showing off the range directed by film royalty Gia Coppola (Sophia’s niece btw).
Did you always dream of becoming an international designer?
I was given a sewing machine when I was 12 and spent a lot of my childhood being mesmerised by pattern. I’ve always wanted to have my own label but I didn’t anticipate that I would end up here.
Which design led to your first big break?
It could have been Spring/Summer 2000 when I felt that it was all coming together.
You’ve been a judge several times for the UK Graduate Fashion Week Industry – what advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a designer?
It’s important to have a strong sense of what you like. Be consistent in your designs. Be confident in yourself but allow your designs to change and evolve.
Who/what inspires you in your work and why?
I’m particularly interested in mid-century design and love hunting things out at markets. I also find myself inspired by films and art.
Your signature prints have graced clothing, china and chocolates. What’s your most coveted design and why?
It’s hard to choose one, but if I had to it would be the drifting boats print. I had a lot of fun designing this collection because it was inspired by Cornish boat scenes and reminds me of being on holiday.
Alexa Chung at Mulberry‘s London Fashion week show last week wearing none other than Orla’s drifting boats print dress. And below close up:
How would you describe the style in your home?
My home is an extension of myself. I like to combine simplicity with splashes of colour. I love dark wood and we’re going to be using this in my new shop opening in September on Kings Rd.
Orla’s living room with its colourful fireplace tiles, display of vintage vases, Pear Print cushion and Patterned Flower oval rug.
“This vintage cabinet is one of my favourite pieces and was in our house when we bought it,” says Orla.
Are you a country or city girl?
I think I’m both. I love working in the city but I also feel the need to unwind in the country. I grew up by the sea and spent a lot of time outdoors. Naturally I am most relaxed when I am in the country.
The Multi-stem print armchair and Blankey Stem cushion show an ‘effective mix of scale’.
What three products could you not live without?
My iPhone, Aveda shampoo and Nars lipstick.
What do you feel is the most exciting project you’ve worked on and why?
I am working on the Citroen DS3 and that’s a really exciting thing to be working on as it’s so different from everything I’ve done.
What trends do you think we should be looking out for?
I don’t really follow trends but I’d say stripes and wedges!
Orla Kiely’s new book Pattern is out this September published by Conran Octopus.
Portrait shot (at top) of Orla Kiely with her tableware collection for Target. Photographed in her South London, UK home.
Orla Kiely’s London Fashion Week video above is courtesy of Vogue.tv.
Look out for the new Orla Kiely House – a range of kitchenware from BlissHome that’s coming out this month. ‘With colour and pattern being the cornerstones of my world, the new kitchenware collection reflects this perfectly,’ says Orla about the range. ‘I’m always inspired by classic Scandinavian design and all things mid-century. I love the idea of reviving all over pattern on everyday objects such as casserole and butter dishes. With dark wood details and colour pops, the collection has been designed to be left out on show and not hidden away in cupboards.’
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