Most people when they visit New York probably have a ‘must see/ do’ list that includes icons such as Central Park, the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty. My list however, whilst still including the utter *essentials* of New York site seeing (Grand Central – tick, Gossip Girl tour – tick, sitting on the steps of the Met giving my best Blair Waldorf face – MASSIVE TICK) also had, fairly high up too I might add, a trip to Orla Kiely’s NYC shop. Now I know what you’re thinking, why treck half way around the world just to visit the shop of a brand you could pop to in London?! Whilst in theory this is true, my visits to London over the last few years have been sporadic and so jam packed that by the time I’ve seen all my friends for a catch up, there’s barely time left to marvel at the wonder that is the Waitrose cheese room (trust me, it’s amazing) let alone cram some retail therapy in too which is why I was stupidly excited about *finally* getting the chance to visit Mercer Street and dive headlong into Orla’s world.
I have to admit that up until a few years ago, I was only aware of Orla Kiely as the designer who put 60s style stem prints on a vast selection of homewares and didn’t have a clue that she also designed clothes too. At some point during the cold days of February 2013 however, whilst hitting up Google to keep updated with all things London Fashion Week, I stumbled across a couple of blogs carrying photos from her AW13 presentation (beautifully styled by the amazing Leith Clark) and fell hopelessly in love.
It’s probably no surprise that my love for Orla Kiely started around the same time as discovering Wes Anderson’s films (again, *very* late to that party) as both artists share the ability to create entire worlds around their ideas that are so appealing and considered it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Orla’s Fashion Week presentations (and supporting campaign films) are never merely just catwalks of clothes but instead feel more like snapshots of some wonderful retro dream that the viewer has stumbled upon. This sepia-tinged aesthetic extends to the New York shop where offerings from the AW14 collection sit alongside homewares in a faux-domestic setting that includes a kitchen, lounge area (complete with TV showing ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ – always a good thing in my book) and erm, caravan resplendent in Orla Kiely print.
After trying on a few bits and pieces from the current collection, I discovered a rail of sale items including a skirt from the AW13 collection I’d been lusting after and having purchased it, was brave enough to ask the very lovely sales assistant if I could take a few snaps of the shop interior to share on here (is it just me who gets slight sales assistant fear when I’m in shops that my budget wouldn’t normally stretch to?!?).
Thankfully my limited American budget meant that I couldn’t walk away with the whole shop (although I’m sure the little brushwood fox would look right at home in my flat…) but it was a lovely excuse to have a glimpse into Orla’s world and add one or two items to my every growing wishlist…
My name is Holly and I am a Tatty Devine addict. It has been several weeks since my last purchase.
I was fully aware that over the last ten years or so I’d amassed a fairly large number of pieces thanks to gifts, my own indulgences, sample sales and a few friends in the right places but I hadn’t realised *quite* how much I had until I decided to take a quick snap of it all for the #TD15 celebration (I say quick snap but it took nearly two hours to set up once I’d retrieved all the pieces from the various jewellery boxes they all normally live in). When I tweeted the photo, comments included ‘wow and ‘holy shit’ and it was at this point that the full scale of my ‘problem’ (and it’s a lovely problem to have) began to dawn…
As part of my ‘TD Addict 12 Step Programme’ and as a big ‘happy birthday’ to all things Tatty, I thought I’d talk you through a few of my favourite pieces from my collection (I had thought about choosing 15 but no one needs to read that much of my witterings!).
Like a lot of people, my first introduction to TD was via their bespoke Name Necklace service and it took me ages to decide on what font/ colour/ charm combo I wanted (the choices have expanded even more in recent years just to make it even more difficult!) before finally settling on ‘billboard’ in ‘bright pink’ with a lightning bolt charm in ‘matt gold’ on a sterling silver chain (an option they sadly no longer seem to offer). I remember counting down the days until the necklace was ready (as each necklace can take up to two weeks) and then impatiently waiting for the postman to deliver the pink and white envelope of joy. I loved my necklace so much that I also bought my sister one in the reverse colour way for her 18th birthday! Over the years I’ve acquired a few more name necklaces, including one blatantly copied from those worn by Girls Aloud in the video for ‘Biology’ as well as what to me, also counts as a ‘name’ necklace – the two small holly leaves from a Christmas collection a few years ago.
From the first piece of TD I ever owned, to the first piece of TD I bought in their iconic Brick Lane shop. As an occasional London visitor, I’d been to Brick Lane before to scour the vintage shops but I’d never quite managed to figure out where Tatty Devine’s original shop was located. On my next visit, armed with a map and a vague sense of direction, I finally stumbled across it and rewarded myself with not only an epic chat with the amazing girls who worked there (and who quite happily talked me through all the pieces they had in stock) but also with this amazing tiger necklace (and maybe a few other pieces) which I’d been eyeing up for a while. As statement necklaces go, it’s grrreat!
For some reason, I’ve always preferred Tatty’s A/W offerings over their S/S ones (maybe I just tend to wear more jewellery in the winter months) and, whilst I loved their A/W11 collection, in my opinion their A/W12 collection is the strongest they’ve ever produced and marked the moment when the brand went from ‘cult and kitsch’ to ‘holy shit these pieces are take your breath away beautiful!’. Although at the statement necklace end of the collection some pieces pushed the £300+ mark, the sheer brilliance and intricacy of the paisley multi-necklaces showed that Perspex could be more than just cheap and cheerful and meant that Tatty Devine purchases could be justified as ‘investment pieces’… Whilst my budget sadly didn’t stretch to the mega jewelled paisley necklace, I did pick up the smaller multi-version as well as quite a few other bits from the collection (thank goodness for seasonal and sample sales!) which are amongst my most worn items.
One of the things that sets Tatty Devine aside from their competitors is the sheer number of people tripping over themselves to collaborate with them. In my collection I’ve got pieces from collaborations with Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Eley Kishimoto and Jean Paul Gaultier and TD have also worked with Peaches, Robots In Disguise, Gilbert & George, Rob Ryan, Disney, Louise Gray and the London Transport Museum to name just a few! Of all their collaborations however, I think my favourite one has got to be the dagger necklace they produced for Charlotte Olympia’s A/W11 collection ‘To Die For’ which was based around Agatha Christie and the Golden Age of crime fiction (and was also the debut outing for the now iconic ‘kitty’ shoes). Aside from fashion, I’m a massive book geek and in particular crime fiction so anything that combines the two goes straight to the top of my ‘must have’ list, even more so if it also has the words ‘limited addition’ attached. As the necklace was included in the goodie bags for those attending the launch of the collection, I had to use the Dark Arts to get my hands on one but it was well worth the effort. I’m now on a quest to track down the mermaid necklace that was produced for CO’s S/S12 ‘Sirens’ collection…
One thing that Tatty Devine do well are statement necklaces but as I’m not the biggest of frames, some of their amazing creations are just a little *too* big for me to wear. Thankfully, as the above multi-strand bunting necklace is made up of smaller pieces, it hangs a long better on me than a lot of their other big necklaces I’ve tried on (although I do run the risk of getting it caught in the shredder when I wear it to work!). I initially spotted it during my first trip to their Brick Lane store but it was sadly out of my price range so I had to settle for the smaller version which has had a lot of wear over the years. Thankfully, the larger version finally came into my possession last year thanks yet again to the joys of ebay stalking so it’s no longer ‘the one that got away’.
My final picks include one of the newest and one of the oldest pieces from my collection. I possibly spend far too much time browsing fashion blogs on the internet so when a couple of these a few years ago mentioned that a TD ‘Charm Club’ was going to be launching I got *very* excited! Sadly, said club never materialised (which is a shame as it would have been brilliant: club + jewellery = WIN) but a revised version of the bespoke charm service was launched just before Christmas at TD’s Birmingham and London Selfridges concessions (but annoyingly not at the Manchester one or online!) and so on my pre-birthday London trip last December I made sure I popped in. I went for the maximum number of charms allowed as I figured I could always swap the selection about and if I really want to mix things up a bit, I can always add in the little pair of sterling silver shoes which I’m pretty sure are the oldest piece in my collection and took a lot of tracking down.
I hope you’ve enjoyed have a closer look at some of my collection and much as I’d like to say my addiction is cured, I’ve currently got my eye on one or two pieces from the new collections including the Pink Poodle Necklace and the Cocktail Umbrella Necklace from their 15th birthday collection. Oh well…