Her Autumn/Winter collection, launched at her London show earlier this year, taps into the early 70s nostalgia that's so big in fashion right now. 'I love Ali Mcgraw in Love Story and wanted the shoes to have that preppy, university librarian vibe,' explains Orla. 'I wanted to keep the heels chunky and change the uppers with cute features like appliqué flowers and buckles'.
The starting point was the colour palette – a chic navy, a pretty rose, party-ready gold and a classic tan because 'I have a thing about tan shoes!' laughs Orla. 'It's that whole school shoe thing.' Then came the leathers – patent, pony, mock-croc, and a metallic as gleaming and more-ish as a Quality Street wrapper. 'I love the way that we mixed different textured leathers in the same shoe this season,' she explains. 'It makes the shoes more interesting and fun.'
The shapes were, as always, vintage shoe-inspired. 'I have a BIG collection of vintage shoes,' confesses Orla. 'It's always 60s and 70s shoes. I don’t know what it is – the shape, the colour, the proportion...'It was here in particular that Clarks famous craftsmanship came into play. 'Clarks were very open to the idea of how proportion and how the tiniest detail – the position of the strap, for example - makes the difference with how expensive a shoe looks,' she explains.
The resulting collection is what Orla calls 'something 'wow!'' Seven styles – from darling heeled and flat Mary Janes to a perfect Chelsea boot and a patent brogue – that are absolutely Orla and perfectly Clarks.
'I love what Clarks stands for and I have a fond, nostalgic association with them from my childhood. To combine fashion and comfort for me is perfect.'
'It's girl meets boy. Ali McGraw from Love Story. A little bit preppy and a little bit 70s.'
I loved the way we mixed different textures in the same shoe…patent, mock croc....it made the shoes more interesting and fun.
The scene: A university library populated by improbably pretty students skimming through maths text books and giggling over 60s editions of Vogue.
Their clothes are suitably studious - grey tights, print dresses and sweet knits over A-line skirts. But their shoes are something else. High heel t-bars in toffee-coloured mock-croc; gold and navy metallics on chunky platforms; adorable Mary Janes in rose-pink and red and shiny patent brogues. This is Orla Kiely's A/W 15 show and the launch of her latest collaboration with Clarks.