By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
The rise of European cinema, the golden age of television, art’s abstract expressionism, the economic boom…this is the charm of the early 1960s. But much fascination lies also in the fashion of the time, where busty, curvaceous females like Sophia Lauren, Marilyn Monroe, and Brigitte Bardot were enveloped in colourful, stylish-joyous designs.
Feminine and sexy without any trace of vulgarity, this is the look of the season by the fair trade fashion pioneer and online garment retailer, People Tree.
For the Spring/Summer 2014 collection, People Tree collaborated with London-based Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely, who was described by The Guardian as “the Queen of Prints.” Kiely’s designs have been seen not only on celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst, Alexa Chung and the Duchess of Cambridge, but also on a variety of objects, such as wallpaper, kitchenware, stationery furniture and the Citroën DS3 cars.
The designer states that she was inspired by a vintage vibe, both in the cuts and the prints she used. But of course, she was inspired by nature, too: her ‘Flower Girls’ uses fair trade and is entirely made in organic cotton: “Many of our prints are inspired by nature. Growing up in Ireland, I loved Fuchsias. I always thought of the flower as a ballerina. This was the staring point for the print,” explains Kiely.
Other prints used in the collection include more geometric graphics, which were popular in the 60s and were seen on all kinds of designs, from artwork and book covers to lamp shades and women’s scarves, as any fan of Mad Men can tell you.
In fact, we could easily see characters like Joan and Peggy from the show wearing the ‘Monochrome Tea Dress,’ or ‘Sleeveless Dress in Multi’. These are just a few examples of how beautifully Orla assembles her love of pattern, colour, texture and rhythm, through her instinctive ability to simplify and stylise everyday motifs.
This collection is an utter tribute to the nostalgia for all things mid century, and we particularly love the below-the-knee styles with sweetheart necklines, boat necks and dropped sleeves–so flattering for any figure.
Beyond the designer’s capsule collection, People Tree has also shown a swing back to the 60s in their own offerings, which include capri pants, bows at the waist and Breton stripes, all of which would have looked perfect on Bardot, but will suit us just fine, too!
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