I have a new obsession. Orla Kiely’s namesake ready-to-wear line seems to have shamefully few fans in the U.S., though I can’t imagine that will be the case for much longer. The label seems to have a strong following in the UK where it is based, made evident by the Brit-heavy crowd at Tuesday night’s party for the designer at the Ace Hotel’s Liberty Hall, which included The Like’s Tennessee Thomas, Giles Deacon and soon-to-be divorcée Karen Elson. (P.S. a little birdy told us that “divorce party” didn’t actually happen.)
Orla’s become known primarily for her boldly printed, high-end handbags, which seem to have fallen into sort of a Kate Spade/Park Avenue/ladies who lunch category. However, her ready-to-wear line is for a hipper, more in the know customer who watches lots of ’60s French new wave and likes to have fun. It’s no wonder the line has found fans in girls like Chung, Elson and Thomas. It’s like a higher end Rachel Antonoff or a less serious Mulberry. Orla makes girly, but not too girly wears, retro-inspired silhouettes–mostly dresses, blouses, skirts and little jackets. Her fall collection, which I got to see up close in a suite at the Ace, is too adorable and precious for words. I wanted every piece.
Perhaps the reason Orla’s yet to garner a big following in the states is that her collection isn’t widely available here. However, that is all about to change, at least for us lucky New Yorkers. Orla will be opening up shop on Mercer Street in Soho this September (just in time for fashion week), so her lovely fall collection will be within reach. This is what we were celebrating at Tuesday’s party, where they screened the above Hitchcock-esque short film, which captures Orla’s fall collection to a T. Also, it was styled by Lula EIC Leith Clark, so how could we not love it?
**Photos by T.K. Stuart-Deely