Lounge Like Gatsby in OLIVIA VON HALLE’S Lav­ish Loungewear

Py­ja­mas in the day­time? With Olivia von Halle’s ex­trav­a­gant cre­ations, you’d want to wear them all day.

World Travel Magazine - - Style Maker - By Hil­lary Kang

‘Classy’ might not be the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of py­ja­mas - but Bri­tish de­signer Olivia von Halle has a very dif­fer­ent ap­proach to­wards the world of sleep­wear. Lux­u­ri­ous silks, painstak­ing bro­cades and strik­ing prints are all par for the course in the de­signer’s epony­mous loungewear la­bel.

She speaks to us about her max­i­mal­ist aes­thetic from her Lon­don stu­dio — an avant-garde space that looks like its taken straight from Gatsby’s man­sion.

You stud­ied fash­ion when you were in school, but what made you want to fo­cus on sleep­wear?

Sleep­wear was al­most com­pletely ig­nored at the time, no one was do­ing any­thing of note or own­ing that space – and that re­ally ex­cited me. I felt there was so much po­ten­tial there. I be­gan work­ing as a trend fore­caster and had a feel­ing that py­ja­mas was set to have a huge mo­ment.

When did you re­alise that you wanted to turn mak­ing lux­ury py­ja­mas into a brand?

In 2009, I moved to Shang­hai and was work­ing as a trend fore­caster and lux­ury brand con­sul­tant. I had the most amaz­ing tai­lor there who made me an in­cred­i­ble pair of printed silk py­ja­mas. I started to wear them to din­ners with heels and mega jew­ellery, I walked the dog in them and I changed into them to host mega af­ter par­ties in our apart­ment - cig­a­rette in one hand and gin and tonic in the other. I was ob­sessed. All my friends loved them too and I started mak­ing them for friends and fam­ily for Christ­mas and birth­day presents.

I went back to Lon­don and ev­ery­one I saw wanted a pair… I dili­gently wrote down ev­ery­one’s mea­sure­ments and went back to my Shang­hai tai­lor with an or­der list as long as my arm. He laughed, told me that he did have other clients and ad­vised me to go and look for a proper man­u­fac­turer. It was a very slow eureka mo­ment – I re­alised there was noth­ing on the mar­ket­place like it and de­cided to launch my own brand.

At the time, since py­ja­mas were in no way ‘a thing’ — there was some­thing rather cringe about it, so once I de­cided to do it I wanted to go big. My aim was to make my name syn­ony­mous with the world’s best py­ja­mas and grow a global brand off the back of it. My main mo­ti­va­tion was prov­ing peo­ple wrong, and its proven to be a very strong driv­ing force be­hind the busi­ness!

“I started to wear my silk py­ja­mas to din­ners with heels and mega jew­ellery, I walked the dog in them and I changed into them to host mega af­ter­par­ties in our apart­ment - cig­a­rette in one hand and gin and tonic in the other. I was ob­sessed"

Where do you get in­spi­ra­tion for new PJS from?

It might be a line from a book, or a 1970s muse, or a paint­ing, or even a move­ment in a coun­try. In the past col­lec­tions have been in­spired by Café So­ci­ety in the 1950s in the South of France, a line from an Ayn Rand book, or for next sea­son, we are look­ing at the work of the artist Hierony­mus Bosh – I named my son Hierony­mus af­ter him! It can lit­er­ally be any­thing, but it has to ex­cite the de­sign team and me and feel like it hits the zeit­geist.

We don’t be­lieve in look­ing at what other brands are do­ing or just de­sign­ing what we think our cus­tomers will like, what sets us apart is we are very true to the de­sign process and that’s why the col­lec­tions work.

What’s your se­cret for get­ting sleep on long flights?

I try and set my clock as soon as I board and start think­ing in the time zone of the coun­try I’m land­ing in. I don’t let my­self doze when I first get on, tempt­ing as it is when you’ve been pack­ing and rush­ing around, be­cause this al­ways messes up your sleep later on. I plan my jour­ney and when I’m go­ing to sleep, watch a movie, have a teeny bit too much to drink, then OVH eye mask on, earplugs in and I’m out.

Top tip, never fall asleep with your seat belt not show­ing as fas­tened – many an ex­cel­lent bit of plane kip has been in­ter­rupted by an overly zeal­ous flight at­ten­dant check­ing your seat belt is on dur­ing some tur­bu­lence!

Tell us one over­hyped at­trac­tion or place in your city, and one un­der­rated one.

I never un­der­stand why peo­ple come to Lon­don and then hang around in Trafal­gar Square, I want to run up to them and say get out of tourist Lon­don and go and hang out where real Lon­don­ers do! Not­ting Hill, Shored­itch, any­where but here!

I love the canals in Lon­don and think walk­ing from An­gel in Is­ling­ton to

Lit­tle Venice in Maida Vale shows you a com­pletely dif­fer­ent side to the city. The walk takes you on so many dif­fer­ent parts of Lon­don, from Cam­den Locks which is the home of punk, past some of the most ex­pen­sive houses in Lon­don in Re­gents Park and right through Lon­don Zoo – its mag­i­cal.

In your opin­ion, what’s the most fash­ion­able city in the world?

I re­cently went to a Prada party at their new house in Shang­hai and I was ab­so­lutely blown away by how stylish ev­ery­one was and how it was a style that was su­per unique to Shang­hai. The men were al­most more dressed up than the women and although it was pretty hard to pin down I would de­scribe what they were wear­ing as 80s TV de­tec­tive meets Mad Max. I lived in Shang­hai years ago and it was re­ally ex­cit­ing to see this new-found con­fi­dence and play­ful­ness with fash­ion, and them cre­at­ing their own style. Lon­don is al­ways cited as be­ing the most cre­ative fash­ion city but these Shang­hai fash­ion­istas put us in the shade! Sum up your home city us­ing one of your pieces

Like Lon­don our Hero Agatha dress makes a state­ment and is clas­si­cally beau­ti­ful but with an un­ex­pected edge.

Olivia von Halle in her Lon­don stu­dio

Olivia von Halle’s 2019 col­lec­tion re­calls the deca­dent life of 1920s high so­ci­ety Claude Eye-mask

Lila Bet­tina Py­ja­mas

Hero Agatha Dress

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