One designer that celebrates the art of lounging is Olivia von Halle and something tells us the last few months have made her particularly popular.
Known for her decadent prints and fabulous fabric, the designer wants us to embrace the wonderfulness of dressing up at home and what can be chicer than her new pieces inspired by Hollywood’s golden age.
The new Cabaret Collection features elegant floral details complement the signature silk pieces as a revival of the era’s empowered dressing – the new collection will be available on oliviavonhalle.com from November 9 2020. Below, we chat with the designer about her inspiration, future plans for the Middle East and ask her to share her opulent night in.
What do you love the most about Hollywood’s Golden Age?
That life was on another level. It reframed the way we dressed—glamour was encouraged, at home, in the ballroom, on the red carpet. The eveningwear was so unabashedly indulgent, in a way few designs truly are now—except for The Cabaret Collection!
Was there a 1920’s muse in mind?
The story of Anna May Wong was a real inspiration for this collection; she was such a trailblazer, strong, and independent. She was a starlet of the 1920s, the first American Chinese film star, sharing the screen with Marlene Dietrich and others. She was style incarnate, and the biggest feature on our moodboards for the collection.
Do you have a favourite from the Cabaret Collection?
The Capability Baronet calls the unapologetic glamour of that era into ours. It’s a sumptuous navy velvet dressing gown piped with pink lurex and heavily embroidered with the most beautiful flowers—it’s quite a head-turning piece, which is what Olivia von Halle is all about.
There’s a nice balance between colours, prints and material, talk us through the design process.
Every collection starts with a visit to the library; of course, nowadays there is so much inspiring content online, but my Design Director and I love unusual old historical references from beautiful old books—so much more original. We tend to find a muse and then create a world and landscape around her. Our muse is always strong and has often changed the course of history in her own way—and we love it when she is quite unknown and we can tell her story to people for the first time. We create a mood board inspired by this muse and her world, and from here we get our colour palette and the print, fabric, and shape inspiration. We are unusual in that we create all of our own fabrics; so all the prints and colours are completely unique to Olivia von Halle.
Which pieces from the collection would you pick for your Middle Eastern clients?
I love how Middle Eastern women have so much confidence in embracing glamour at home; European women could learn a lot from them! I think the heavily-embellished and hand-embroidered pieces like the Coco Baronet and Queenie Cabaret would look incredible on our Middle Eastern clients who are looking for something extra special.
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Do you feel now more than ever people want to dress up at home?
There’s nothing I love more than getting dressed up—and when you can’t go out, why not do it at home! It has the same effect; you feel great and it allows you to still celebrate all those important events—birthdays, anniversaries but in a way that is elegant, glamorous, and most importantly for 2020, comfortable. We have seen a boom in sales because people are doing exactly that—investing in beautiful pieces to wear at home to make life more fun and interesting again.
How has the “new normal” impacted your day to day as well as your design process?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be with my family, and business-side it’s allowed us to take stock; to pause and reflect on our offering, and refine it based on this new frontier of consumer trends, the way we dress, work, live, and shop. When you’re facing the prism of a crisis large enough to refract our entire lives through it, it’s important to pause and reconsider what you’re making, and how.
How have you navigated these uncertain times as a business and emotionally?
As a business we have been extremely lucky in that we have seen a boom in sales which has continued throughout the pandemic—we are extremely fortunate to create a product that is perfect for this moment. However lucky I feel on the business side of things though, I would swap it all for our life as it was before! I have found it tough emotionally, it’s been very hard watching friends and family lose jobs and businesses, and I’m very worried about the future and the effect this will have on our society, especially for my children. My 18-month-old son knows to use hand sanitiser which blows my mind! I have found that communication is the best way to get through it—to see friends and family as much as I can, even if only online, and to keep in touch with my amazing team at Olivia von Halle.
How do you want women to feel in the Cabaret Collection?
Like a starlet! Liza Minelli’s line, ‘Life is a Cabaret’, calls to mind the kind of spectacle and dream we look to offer to the Olivia von Halle woman.
How do you hope to expand the Olivia von Halle in the future?
We are currently working on some really exciting developments for the brand including the most beautiful house slippers—they are absolutely gorgeous, velvet and heavily embellished but the most comfortable slipper you have ever worn. I can’t wait.
Any specific plans for the Middle East?
We have recently partnered with an agency in the Middle East so are planning lots more in the region, including some exciting activations and hopefully some events. One day I would love to have a store there.
You manage to beautifully capture the glamour of at-home luxury dressing, what is your idea of a decadent night in?
I am a bath obsessive and my idea of a decadent night begins in the bath. It needs to be very hot, very deep, and very long—I’ve been known to spend three hours in there. I take everything I need; a cup of tea or a gin and tonic, my iPad to watch series and a really good book. I add lashings of Olverum bath oil and a lot of Epsom salts which are fantastic for your skin and also relax any tension in your muscles. I love having massages at home and so after an hour or so in the bath, my masseuse will arrive—after 90 minutes with her, I apply an overnight facemask and roll into bed. Bliss.
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Images: Supplied, Instagram