It's strange to think that all icons started somewhere. Kiely developed her signature 'stem' print in the 1990s. It would come to be endlessly associated with the brand, even appearing on a limited range of Citroen DS3s. At this exhibition of her greatest hits you can see the stem print in its original paper sketch – a highlight in a sea of competing patterns.
Orla Kiely AW 2014 campaign
Born in 1963 in Ireland, Orla Kiely studied in Dublin before moving to New York and finally settling in London. Alongside her signature prints (among them, 'stem', 'pear', and 'flower'), she pioneered laminating fabrics for bags – a design decision previously only seen on cheap but cheerful tablecloths. She was eventually awarded an OBE.
This exhibition will also feature collaborations with photographers, film directors and architects – those prints get everywhere. The Fashion and Textile museum has been granted exclusive access to the designer archives to pick out the best patterns. Her signature muted palette has an endearingly retro quality that evokes suburban summers and takes well to Instagram filters.
With an exhibition featuring 150 objects and designs, there'll be plenty to see – and let's also hope for a well-stocked gift shop.
Orla Kiely homeware photographed by Venetia Scott
|What||Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern, Fashion and Textile Museum|
|Where||Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey St, London, SE1 3XF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
25 May 18 – 23 Sep 18, Closed Mondays, Late opening Thursday (8pm)
|Website||Click here for more information|