Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern

Orla Kiely is one of the UK and Ireland's most successful designers - her stylised graphic patterns are innovative, influential and instantly recognisable. This new exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum explores the power of decoration to transform the way we feel. Featuring over 150 patterns and products, as well as collaborations with photographers, film directors and architects, Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern emphasises the role of ornament and colour in our everyday lives. Highlights include the original paper sketches for the trademark 'Stem' graphic, created in the 1990s, which has evolved to feature on everything from mugs and dresses to notebooks and even cars, plus prototypes for her early signature bags and the evolution of the iconic 'Pear' and 'Flower' designs. With unique access to the company archives, the exhibition offers a privileged insight into the designer's world - how she works, what has inspired her, and why her facility with pattern has produced designs that have resonated around the world. This exhibition is a must-see opportunity for anyone interested in the changing look of the 21st century environment. 

I was lucky enough to be invited to the press event and as a huge Orla Kiely fan I was really excited to see it.

SPOILER ALERT - if you don't wish to see any pictures from the exhibition then look away now!

Orla's work is inspired by the pattern of the 1950s and 1960s, by designers such as Mary Quant, Shirley Craven and Lucienne Day. I really enjoyed the exhibition and even got to meet the lovely lady herself. Thanks so much Fashion and Textile Museum for inviting me.



  1. That looks like a great exhibition. I've got a 'stem' watch, but that's the only Kiely I own. Her patterns are fantastic.

  2. I can see the Mary Quant influence!
    Those dresses are absolutely gorgeous especially that black and white maxi. I love the tiny costume dolls and how wild that room looks adorned with her prints. I've come across a few of her things in chazzas but they've always been a bit tame so I've avoided them. I'd pass out with excitement if I could find one of those dresses! xxx


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