How would you describe your personal style?
Bold, glamorous, maximal mayhem.
What is there too much of in your wardrobe?
Ridiculous charity shop finds left over from my youth as a psychedelic trance raver. Every spring I think, ‘I must have a clear out’, then I get everything out, reminisce, and put everything back in my wardrobe. In 2002 I gave some clothes to the charity shop and returned the following day to buy them all back again. There is an on-going joke about my “archive” – basically a huge excuse to never have to throw anything away and a legitimate reason not to feel guilty about unworn purchases.
What are your go-to labels?
I love Joseph for staples, Atalanta Weller for amazing heels and boots; Acne for workwear; Alessandra Rich for incredible evening dresses; Celine for accessories, Jonathan Saunders for pretty summer dresses, Marni for bonkers directional pieces, Maje for every day and Tom Binns for jewellery. Raf Simons at Jil Sander was absolute heaven for me.
What are you happiest wearing?
Something new! I love the thrill of putting on a new outfit you have saved up and lusted after for months. Old favourites are great but nothing makes me happier than new clothes!
Give us a clever styling tip.
I’m a huge fan of draping my jackets around my shoulders rather than putting them on. Makes a tired coat feel like a brand new cape!
Whose wardrobe would you love to steal?
My great friend Leaf Greener’s – Senior Fashion Editor at ELLE China. She has the most exquisitely bonkers taste.
What’s the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
A long black velvet opera coat made for my mother by my grandmother and given to me when I was 14. In the midst of the grungy 90s, this coat showed me how powerful and elegant dramatic clothes could make you feel.
Where do you look for inspiration if you don't know what to wear?
Above style blogs and magazines, I am actually most inspired my some of my friends. I think we all feed off each others ideas – when I lived in China for a few years my style went pretty mental – I think it was because I wasn’t around my friends to keep my sartorially in check!
What has been your career highlight?
Spending 18 months locked away working on my brand, the absolute terror of not knowing if anyone will like it, let alone buy it – and then it being snapped up by Harrods in my first season. That felt amazing.
What’s the craziest thing you have done for the love of fashion?
Getting married in 2008 in pink skin-tight catsuit, with enormous shoulder pads and a cut out back. For the church I had a Victor and Rolf style enormous cape with wing-like structure coming off the shoulder. Yves St Laurent died the morning I got married so we sewed the back into a heart. Despite being ‘forbid’ to do so by my grandmother I also wore 6 inch Atalanta Weller show shoes – which dwarfed my poor husband who at 6ft is my height. Luckily he loved it and I still look back on the whole thing slightly amazed.
If there is one label we should watch out for in 2012, what should it be?
Alessandra Rich is an incredible designer who I’m sure is going to go stratospheric.
What’s your sartorial guilty pleasure?
Terrible, terrible, terrible but I have been known to partake in the odd fake handbag from Shanghai...
What are your design signatures?
Beautifully cut silk pyjamas in stunning prints.
Can you talk us through your new collection?
This season we have introduced two new styles that we are so excited about. The Coco pyjama is inspired by Coco Chanel wearing her lover’s silk pyjamas in the 1920s, this androgynous style has our inimitable cut to keep the look tailored and feminine. The Alba is based on the idea of tumbling out of bed and pulling on your man’s shirt, this style plays with proportion. The oversized mans shirt creates a sexy insouciance and can be worn with or without the shorts depending on one’s mood….
Shop the collection at oliviavonhalle.com