Before I tell you about the upcoming Orla Kiely exhibition (yay!), I just have to get this out of my system: I’ve met the lady herself twice. Once, when I was Digital Fashion Editor at Cosmo when she launched her eyewear collection with Boots, and she was lovely. Quite serious, but lovely.
I met her a second time last year, when I was in the midst of a mini meltdown, health-wise and made a right ol’ tit of myself.
I was at the launch of her bike and accessories collection for Halfords, and was with a group of bloggers chatting politely to her. I couldn’t stay for long, and was making my excuses to leave when I realised I had my (ancient) Orla Kiely print umbrella in the tote bag over my shoulder, and thought I’d show Orla, to brown nose, I guess.
However, jutting out of the bag, I also had a bunch of ‘get well soon’ flowers a friend had given me earlier. So when I reached for the brolly while saying, “ooh, I have something for you!” it looked like I was going to give Orla the flowers, and everyone else thought I was giving her the flowers and smiled expectantly, and then I presented my mouldy brolly and you could have heard a pin drop and I pretty much ran away, THE SHAME OF IT ALL.
So yeah. Maybe I can make up for my faux pas by showing the forthcoming exhibition some love.
Orla Kiely is one of the UK and Ireland’s most successful designers and Orla Kiely: A Life In Pattern, will be the first exhibition dedicated to the designer in the UK.
Known for her use of vivid Sixties prints and silhouettes, the retrospective will highlight Kiely’s life as a designer, her inspirations and will delve into her fascination with patterns.
Featuring over 150 patterns and products, as well as collaborations with photographers, film directors and architects, highlights include the original paper sketches for the trademark ‘Stem’ graphic, created in the ’90s, which has evolved to feature on everything from mugs and dresses to notebooks and even cars, plus prototypes for her early signature bags and the evolution of the iconic ‘Pear’ and ‘Flower’ designs.
With unique access to the company archives, the exhibition offers a privileged insight into the designer’s world – how she works, what has inspired her, and why her facility with pattern has produced designs that have resonated around the world.
The brand has yet to contact me to feature my “iconic” Orla Kiely umbrella *ahem*…
“Over the past 20 years we have built an archive of fashion, accessories and homeware rooted in our signature style. With the exhibition, we will be bringing it all together under one roof in a celebration of design, print and colour that has become the Orla Kiely brand.”
The exhibition opens at the Fashion and Textile Museum on 25th May 2018.
Book tickets online here.