Her mug runneth over
Carole Middleton and Keira Knightly wear her clothes, and millions more have one of her designs in their home or on their handbag. Orla Kiely tells Deirdre McQuillan what she’s planning for next season
Orla Kiely. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Carole Middleton wore one of your dresses (the Dancing girl tea dress, £160) to visit her grandson recently. What does that mean for you?
When Kate was photographed in one of my dresses, our website crashed. Itwas lovely that Carole wore the dress on such a lovely occasion and looked so great.
What other fans do you have?
Alexa Chung wears our clothes a lot and she has got such fashion style and so does Keira Knightly, but I like seeing anyone wearing our clothes.
What’s your latest collaboration?
It’s a coffee mug with a shadow pattern inspired by the coffee bean for Kenco Millicano, the coffee company. I am quite a coffee snob and really do appreciate good coffee and Kenco’s instant coffee is made with real beans. The mug is ceramic with a rubber cap because a lot of paper cups go into landfill.
Anything else on the drawing board?
A nice one about to launch is a range for Clarks shoes and I am very excited about it. I think they look super cute. They’re Sixties-inspired in red, navy, yellow punched patent and the range varies in height from flat to super-dooper high heels. It’s for next spring/summer.
Anything you haven’t designed that you would like to do?
A hotel, perhaps, with different patterns in each room.
How do you play with scale?
I love playing with scale and I do like extremes in the home. It’s a way of creating some kind of contrast – they work against each other so they don’t merge into one.
I always say – go for it. Go bigger. I love the idea that some fashion brands, like Prada, for instance, do it well by going big one season and little the next.
What new developments are there in textile design?
I have great students in the RCA with whom I work and textile design is exciting at the moment because people are now used to technology and are almost going back to basics. A couple of years ago, there was a danger of everything looking the same, but now people are being creative again.
What country has been your biggest source of inspiration?
Well, Ireland, of course, because I grew up there and everything I know is Irish and being a student in Dublin, but I’d also say Scandinavia – their philosophy of design and functionality and not over-decorative, both past and present, is always amazing.
When is your new fashion collection in store?
It has just arrived in our New York store and has been really well received. It arrives in Arnotts in a couple of weeks’ time.