Clothing, Dresses

I think I’m in love with Orla Kiely - (archived)

This content has been archived. It may no longer be relevant

I never really got the obsession with Orla Kiely. The prints that she’s most famous for, and the oilcloth bags and laptop sleeves emblazoned with graphic tulips in sludge green and burnt orange…they just never really did it for me. I love a bit of 70s retro, I’m always a fan of an Autumnal palette, but if I were to put Orla’s bags on my Handbag Of Dreams list, they’d be down there with multicoloured monogram Louis Vuitton. Just not me.

Then I discovered the dresses. Not the prim little things you may have seen on The Duchess formerly known as Kate Middleton. No, the amazing 1960s inspired two-colour party dresses, and the insane pre-Spring boat-emblazoned 50s dresses that look like something Sally Draper would wear (or indeed the never-really-off-duty Kiernan Shipka, who at 13 already has a better wardrobe than I will ever own). I mean, look at this…


It’s like the party dress you always wanted when you were six, but made to fit your grown-up lady lumps! I also have it on good authority (well, I think I wrote it once at work) that black and blue is no longer the fashion ‘no’ it once was. Now it’s chic and modern and whatever else. And it’s reduced – originally £335, it’s now £167.50. Still out of the realms of possibility for most of us, but it won’t stop me looking at it on a daily basis and bemoaning how much important dress-buying money gets sucked up by bills each month.


Then we come onto this. The ‘Around The World’ print dress. A dress so staggeringly twee it caused me, possibly for the first time in my life, to wonder ‘am I too old for this’. The answer is probably yes – I’m not Zooey Deschanel – but I’m still pondering whether I could make this work without looking like a crazed Blue Peter fan who never grew up. This one’s £358, so Zooey Deschanel is probably the only person who can afford it. It’s from the new pre-Spring collection. If you’re preggers, there’s a high-waisted, voluminous number with an amazing 60s silhouette in the same print that would be amazing with a baby bump.

Now for the piece de resistance…


Anyone who’s picked up a fashion magazine recently will know that black and white is *the* trend for Spring / Summer 2012 (thanks, Marc Jacobs). And this dress has the double whammy appeal of being both black and white AND in the sale. By this point the sales are usually full of nothing but tatty coats with missing buttons and one-shoulder party dresses in cheap faux satin, so to find a little gem like this that’s still available is pretty great. What’s not pretty great is that it’s still well over a hundred quid, even in the sale. £162.50 to be precise.

Elsewhere on the site there are fox print knitted dresses, boxy boy detail bags and fabulous full winter skirts. I’m also a sucker for the homewear, especially the retro teapot. If only I drank tea!

Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Sian January 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I agree with you on her 70s patterns. Except when it comes to homewares – that’s where those prints belong.

    • Reply Gemma January 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      deffo. Makes me want to drink tea. Or make pies in those little pie dishes.

  • Reply Janine @ BakeGlueandTrend blog January 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    I think I have joined you in this love, the fox print dress you linked is heavenly, I wish I could afford it. Great post, thanks for linking these 🙂

    Janine xx

    • Reply Gemma January 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      we’ll have to admire from afar together. And wait for ebay!

  • Reply Ria Blagburn January 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I have long been a stalker of Orla Kiely dresses. They make me want to sell my soul. Totally agree with you about the oilcloth bags – I much prefer the other bags she does (which are unfortunately even more expensive). Where’s my winning lottery ticket?!

    • Reply Gemma January 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Same place as mine, I think. Waiting for us in a few years time 😉

  • Reply Fiona January 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Love the blck & white bow one ! Never likly to fit my chest even if I had the funny money amount to spend on it , any way I love my dress I won from u more !

  • Leave a Reply to Janine @ BakeGlueandTrend blog Cancel Reply