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Orla Kiely interview


To celebrate the opening of her new shop on the King's Road in London, fashion and textiles designer Orla Kiely, best known for her iconic, vibrant prints, talks to Stylist.co.uk about her favourite patterns, striking a work-life balance and what we can expect from her in 2011

Orla, tell us about your new London Store.

I am very excited to have opened this new store on 207 King’s Road. It is different from our Covent Garden store with dark wooden interiors with marble tops which I love.

What inspired you to create the rhododendron and acorn print in your new store?

I was on holiday in Ireland and sketched the rhododendron at Ballyvolane House in Cork.

You get much of your inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s. Why do you find this era so inspiring?

The 60s and 70s were an era of pattern. A lot of designs were inspired by contemporary art and architecture. There was a tactile quality, and sense of energy and vitality which has played a huge role in influencing my collection over the years.

You design across so many areas. What’s your favourite?

I really enjoy print in fashion. It’s so interesting how print looks on different fabric and textures. Print plays a large role in my collections as a strong print can transform a collection.

Talking of prints, do you have a favourite?

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I really enjoyed designing the drifting boats print because it was inspired by the Cornish seaside and reminds me of being on holiday.

2010 has been a tough year economically. How have you handled this as a business woman?

We launched Olive and Orange in response to the current climate. We wanted to be able to offer an alternative to our mainline range with a lower price point whilst maintaining strong signature colours and prints.

What advice do you have for budding women designers?

It’s important to have a strong sense of what you like. Be confident in yourself but allow your designs to change and evolve.

You work with your husband and have children. How do you balance work with family life?

Dermott and I try to have lunch together every day and we discuss everything and it’s really important we do this. I am lucky to live near our studio. This means that even when we are going through incredibly busy periods, I can be home quickly and be with my family and our dog. In London we are never short of things to do as a family so the weekends are spent going to exhibitions, for example, together with my boys.

What’s the best part of your day?

Heading home at the end of a busy day to be with my boys.

What can we expect from Orla Kiely in 2011?

Lots of exciting projects – I have been working with Citroën on a limited edition car for 2011 and also with People Tree on some canvas totes.

Finally, what’s at the top of your Christmas present wish list?

A new painting to replace the one I put up in my new King’s Road shop!

Orla Kiely, 207 Kings Road, London, SW3 5ED; 020-7351 2644



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