A quick Q&A with Orla Kiely


With Orla Kiely making her mark on everything from storage tins to stationery, we caught up with the iconic designer to find out more about her creative process and favourite pastimes.

What’s your favourite piece of décor in your own home?

I have a number of cushions I love. We worked on new print designs for our cushion collection last year and I look forward to adding them to my home. A new cushion print can reinvent any room.

Which three words would you use to describe your collection?

Feminine, charming and knowing.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
Nature is a great source of pattern ideas, and my personal take on nature has always been more abstract and graphic. I absorb inspiration in my travels, on weekends when walking my dogs (Olive and Ivy), or visiting galleries and museums in London. There are always new exhibitions on to discover.

When I visited Porto in Portugal last year, I was blown away by the beauty of the tile prints on buildings all over the city. There were tiles in so many colours and patterns, it was very inspiring for a new collection.

What is your favourite part of the design process?

Each collection is firstly influenced by the season we are working in. It will create its individual story as we research for inspiration and colours.

Colour combination is the essential ingredient of pattern and exploring these combinations is endlessly fascinating. When applied to the collection we are working on, whether it is on a clothing collection or home wares, this is the pivotal moment that sets the tone for the rest of the collection.

Summer will always have some flowers. One season, we were inspired by the French Riviera and this was reflected in a print depicting boats sailing at sea. We used this on dresses and blouses.

Autumn/winter will bring another mood, last year we were inspired by the Yorkshire Moors of Northern England, so we created darker, moodier prints like the Puzzle Leaf and Shadow Tree prints. These were used in flowing Georgette dresses.

How do you like to unwind at home after a busy day at work?

For special dinners Bob Bob Ricard in London is fun, it has a great atmosphere and food. For something a little more casual (and so delicious), Honey & Co. is always good for dinner with friends after work – their aubergine dish is my favourite.

When staying close to home, The Dairy or Manor owned by Robin Gill; both are so good! I’ll go there before or after heading to my local cinema, the Clapham Picture House. They play interesting independent films. On a winter’s evening, it’s the place to be.

Browse the full Orla Kiely range online

1 Comment

  1. Josephine Jennings September 22, 2017 at 6:38 am -  Reply

    Enjoying your design details.

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