The Genteel
October 28, 2020


Orla Kiely Fashion + Music: Up in the Haystacks

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Orla Kiely Spring/Summer 2012 Collection. (Source: She Loves Mixtapes)
Orla Kiely S/S 2012
Orla Kiely Spring/Summer 2012 Collection
(Source: She Loves Mixtapes)

The first thought that came to mind upon seeing the images from Orla Kiely's S/S 2012 show was that of a fresh-faced young girl. The girl that Kiely designs for is so virginal, she could very well be a milkmaid. If I had grown up on a farm as a fresh-faced young milkmaid, I would certainly have been the kind to regularly slip away at sundown to lie in the haystacks and listen to music. The soft pale skirts and sheerness of Kiely's fabrics are the perfect answer to sweltering nights - sadly gone now, as September quickly slips by. For just a little while longer, though, walk with me through one of those warm summer nights, with this soundtrack playing in the background: 

1. "Too Afraid to Love You" by The Black Keys

The melody kicks in with the positively baroque sound of a pianoforte, but gets down and dirty as the lead singer's voice comes in to plead, plead, plead for the milkmaid to quit driving him wild. She can't help it though. She has no idea that it's her guilelessness that causes such distraction.

2. "I Don’t Know" by The Sheepdogs

Our milkmaid hears this song and thinks back on the faded picture of her parents that sits in the living room, fading now into sepia tones. They're standing in front of a Camaro, in the middle of the bush, probably at a party, and they're laughing, laughing. She can't help but smile, too. She wants someone that fun in her life. 

3. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton

Stolen from her mother's collection eons ago, the milkmaid still listens to this song and gets misty-eyed thinking about that football star that talked to her one day after class, but never looked at her again after the cheerleader pulled him away. What a cruel world! When will she ever stop thinking of him? The day she stops listening to this song.

4. "Crystalized" by the XX

She doesn't quite know what she loves about this song, but it's driving beat gives her something to sway her hips to, even though she finds it a bit embarrassing and would never do it in public. It's not until the milkmaid is older, and has moved away from that old farmhouse into the big city, that she’ll realize that beat is what truly drives her. It possesses her until she can't help but dance. That's when she knows that she is free from unhappiness. 

5. "White Blank Pages" by Mumford and Sons
There's an anger in our milkmaid. It stems from heartache, but it flourishes to encompass all of the injustice that she feels in the world. When she listens to this song, she can't help but feel that anger swell inside her with the rise of the guitar and the keen of the singer's voice. It reminds her that she's more than just a milkmaid and there are things in this world she would like to do - like slay a dragon. 



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