Posted by Fashion Junior at Large
If you go down to Somerset House today, you are in for a big surprise...the very lovely Orla Kiely, along with her friends at Relative MO, have set up a breathtaking installation in the Portico Rooms. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Exhibition and street-style photographers snapping everyone, they have created an adorable woodland setting, complete with garden sheds and a host of feathery friends hidden in the branches of the trees. The purpose of this oasis of calm? To present Orla Kiely's AW11 collection, which was inspired by The Birds, perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's most iconic film.
If you venture in to one of the sheds, there are vintage benches and stools for you to 'perch' upon while you watch a short film shot by Mercedes Helnwein, an incredible fine artist and director who is a close friend of the designer. The film features sweet 60's chicks dancing and playing in a room, wearing the collection, set against a backdrop of Kiely's prints and accompanied by an original soundtrack composed by the director's brother, Ali Helnwein. The sudden closeups and choppy editing all add to the Hitchcock-inspired spooky atmosphere.
I managed to find the designer herself between the trees, so we had a chat about the collection. Apparently she has always adored The Birds, although as a child, found it pretty terrifying! She wanted the AW11 looks to capture the essence of the movie; the girlish silhouettes of the early 60s and the elegance of Tippi Hendren.
All of the prints she designed for this collection either feature birds or were inspired by them, such as a peacock shape that evolves into a more graphic wave shape. The little suits and high waisted skirts are all entirely covetable, and the magic touch of Leith Clark, who styled the collection, is clear to see.
The triple collar blouses and bird printed bodices were particularly pretty details, along with a colour palette of cream, green, navy and orange. My tip for LFW: take a moment today to take a break from the madness and relax in the Orla Kiely woodland, as well as admiring the gorgeous photos of the AW collection. It's worth it, if only to giggle at the seagull perched atop one of the sheds; not quite your usual fashionable 'bird'!