Elements of Design | Sophie Holt

SOPHIE HOLT ON DESIGNING

WITH OPTIMISM IN MIND

 

How does Oroton’s Sophie Holt find inspiration from one season to the next? By working with clever colour codes and a strong sense of optimism. Here, our Creative Director shares a few secrets behind her signature style and designing with self-confidence in mind.

 

Tell us about your creative mood right now, it feels as though there is great nostalgia in your work this season and childhood memories have come into play:

Sophie Holt: Like so many, we have all been reflecting on special moments, the nostalgia of holidays in the sun, the idea of a warm escape, and what it means to go slow and be in the moment. This season, we imagined a vintage traveller and how that woman might dress, lounging in her tailoring, a little undone, pulling on oversized check blazers, layering pyjama shirts with wide pants and sandals, feeling at ease. That led to thoughts from my childhood in Northern Queensland, a beach house in Bingil Bay. There was a huge avocado tree at the door, and we’d drive up to it squishing all the fruit along the way. There’s something about those simple memories, the bliss of being in nature, the freedom. So we designed with a sense of optimism and lightness in mind, yet the shapes have a strength to them, a simplicity and modernity, all things that are very important to me.

 

Sophie’s Childhood Photos

Colour is also key – how does it influence your design process?

Sophie Holt: When we begin working on a new collection, we always start by considering the colours – thinking through how the palette will work together with pieces from the previous season, and the one before that. It’s important to create a neutral base that can be layered upon, tone on tone, from one collection to the next. I’m quite obsessed with striking the right balance – I know, from having worked with colour and fabric for such a long time, that when a collection’s palette is too strong or too sugary it just doesn’t work. And so we spend an extraordinary amount of time talking about the nuances of colour. I’m the first to admit we take it to another level, but I love where we end up, and I think our palette has become a defining feature of the Oroton brand.

Oroton Spring Launch Colour Palette

Form and function is also very important – this season blazers can be belted, everything can be layered and there is a distinct practicality to your aesthetic:

Sophie Holt: I’m very interested in the handwriting of our collections, how we define the brand. Functionality has always been synonymous with the house, and I think we have now redefined that as utility – which means modern shapes with clever vintage detailing, it has become the underwriting of all our collections and I think it’s our point of difference.

Model, Agi Akur on set for SS20 campaign shoot

When it comes to design, how do the accessories and ready-to-wear go hand in hand, and do you mine the house archives?

Sophie Holt: This season the bags are structured, they’re quite polished and ladylike, but then the proportions have been pushed a little, exaggerated for modernity. I have always been interested in exploring proportions and shape, and I love that I’m able to work with the brand’s history, honour it, and move it forward.

The Jerome Woven Bag on set for SS20 campaign shoot

Lastly, how are you remaining optimistic right now, and what is driving you?

Sophie Holt: Truly, I feel fortunate to be in this role and to work with this team, and therefore I’m so optimistic. From my point of view, I am grateful to be working with an incredibly iconic brand that has such history and substance to it. In this role, I get to dream up beautiful pieces, and build upon its handwriting of modern, relaxed Australian style, all done with the most incredible quality and attention to detail. Ultimately, I want women to wear our clothes and feel good in them, I want them to feel confident.

Sun setting on location for SS20 campaign shoot

SOPHIE’S EDIT

Elements of Design Oroton, Pantone Colours

Tell us about your creative mood right now, it feels as though there is great nostalgia in your work this season and childhood memories have come into play:

Sophie Holt: Like so many, we have all been reflecting on special moments, the nostalgia of holidays in the sun, the idea of a warm escape, and what it means to go slow and be in the moment. This season, we imagined a vintage traveller and how that woman might dress, lounging in her tailoring, a little undone, pulling on oversized check blazers, layering pyjama shirts with wide pants and sandals, feeling at ease. That led to thoughts from my childhood in Northern Queensland, a beach house in Bingil Bay. There was a huge avocado tree at the door, and we’d drive up to it squishing all the fruit along the way. There’s something about those simple memories, the bliss of being in nature, the freedom. So we designed with a sense of optimism and lightness in mind, yet the shapes have a strength to them, a simplicity and modernity, all things that are very important to me.

Tell us about your creative mood right now, it feels as though there is great nostalgia in your work this season and childhood memories have come into play:

Sophie Holt: Like so many, we have all been reflecting on special moments, the nostalgia of holidays in the sun, the idea of a warm escape, and what it means to go slow and be in the moment. This season, we imagined a vintage traveller and how that woman might dress, lounging in her tailoring, a little undone, pulling on oversized check blazers, layering pyjama shirts with wide pants and sandals, feeling at ease. That led to thoughts from my childhood in Northern Queensland, a beach house in Bingil Bay. There was a huge avocado tree at the door, and we’d drive up to it squishing all the fruit along the way. There’s something about those simple memories, the bliss of being in nature, the freedom. So we designed with a sense of optimism and lightness in mind, yet the shapes have a strength to them, a simplicity and modernity, all things that are very important to me.

 

Sophie’s Childhood Photos

Colour is also key – how does it influence your design process?

Sophie Holt: When we begin working on a new collection, we always start by considering the colours – thinking through how the palette will work together with pieces from the previous season, and the one before that. It’s important to create a neutral base that can be layered upon, tone on tone, from one collection to the next. I’m quite obsessed with striking the right balance – I know, from having worked with colour and fabric for such a long time, that when a collection’s palette is too strong or too sugary it just doesn’t work. And so we spend an extraordinary amount of time talking about the nuances of colour. I’m the first to admit we take it to another level, but I love where we end up, and I think our palette has become a defining feature of the Oroton brand.

Elements of Design Oroton Pantone Colours and Fabrics

Oroton Spring Launch Colour Palette

Form and function is also very important – this season blazers can be belted, everything can be layered and there is a distinct practicality to your aesthetic:

Sophie Holt: I’m very interested in the handwriting of our collections, how we define the brand. Functionality has always been synonymous with the house, and I think we have now redefined that as utility – which means modern shapes with clever vintage detailing, it has become the underwriting of all our collections and I think it’s our point of difference.

Model, Agi Akur on set for SS20 campaign shoot

When it comes to design, how do the accessories and ready-to-wear go hand in hand, and do you mine the house archives?

Sophie Holt: This season the bags are structured, they’re quite polished and ladylike, but then the proportions have been pushed a little, exaggerated for modernity. I have always been interested in exploring proportions and shape, and I love that I’m able to work with the brand’s history, honour it, and move it forward.

Oroton Woven Tote Bag

The Jerome Woven Bag on set for SS20 campaign shoot

Lastly, how are you remaining optimistic right now, and what is driving you?

Sophie Holt: Truly, I feel fortunate to be in this role and to work with this team, and therefore I’m so optimistic. From my point of view, I am grateful to be working with an incredibly iconic brand that has such history and substance to it. In this role, I get to dream up beautiful pieces, and build upon its handwriting of modern, relaxed Australian style, all done with the most incredible quality and attention to detail. Ultimately, I want women to wear our clothes and feel good in them, I want them to feel confident.

Sun setting on location for SS20 campaign shoot

SOPHIE’S EDIT