Orla Kiely:

A life in Pattern

Exhibition at the Fashion & Textiles Museum which showcased 150 pieces of her early to more current designs. Kiely is one of the UK and Ireland’s most successful designers. Her signature style is based on the 50’s and 60’s surface pattern. As a young child her Grandmas’s home interior became her main inspiration and the love of living in the Irish countryside, which later developed to be her signature look. When you think of Orla Kiely,  the first thing which comes to my mind is her most famous Stem design which was created in 1990. With clean vector silhouette, mirrors and inline repeat formats, her designs are recognized globally.

As a print designer myself, I appreciate her eye for colour. She has taken a simple element and personally, I think you either like it or not. I give her credit she has taken a simple look and has created a brand identity with immense global success.

A Life in Pattern explores all aspects of Orla’s creative output, from lifestyle and fashion ranges to use of colour and detail and the geometry of pattern.


Looking at her design, she has a love for neon pink, mustard and brown…. Which may not sound very delightful but it surprised me but the colour balance looked fantastic and is what pulls the collections together. We usually like something first for the colour and then we appreciate the design.

There are many lovely early sketches which gave a nice personal touch. Anyone interested in textiles design for the mid-century it’s a must-see. I’ve pulled out some pictures for you to view and hope you enjoy them.


83 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XF


Exhibition open 25 May – 23 Sept 2018

Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am–6pm
Thursdays until 8pm
Sundays, 11am–5pm
Last admission 45 minutes before closing
Closed Mondays



Advance booking online is recommended but tickets may be purchased in person on the day of the visit, subject to availability
£9.90 adults* / £8.80 concessions* / £7 students * Includes 10% gift aid
Children under 12 are free.
Book Online

50% off full price ticket for Art Fund members
Art Fund tickets are available to be purchased in person with a valid Art Fund membership card and cannot be booked in advance.

Group Bookings
Please fill in the Group Bookings Form or contact the Museum with your requirements.