OROTON’s Autumn-Winter 2022 collection, Happy Camper, marks a new sense of energy, a nod to the restorative power of the great outdoors. With references to tech and modern sporting silhouettes, the collection comprises nostalgic detailing, botanical themes and artful craftsmanship seen on streamlined shapes and architectural accessories. Here, Creative Director Sophie Holt shares her design notes from the studio.
Sophie Holt’s mind is on escapism right now: a moment of rejuvenation, of long walks in the countryside, going back to nature, camping even. The idea stemmed from a feeling brought on by colour. At the beginning of each season, the design team hones the palette, studying the subtlety of a shade, weighing up its potential to maximise outfitting. It’s a complex process that, this time around, resulted in a mix of earthy shades including Lichen, Tan and Silt playing alongside jolts of Chartreuse and a high-voltage red.
"We are always thinking about proportion and purity, finding ways to define the spirit of the time," Holt says. "To that end, it’s about exploring mood, the feeling you get from craftsmanship on the body and the energy of colour.” Ideas came together in the form of a slick Autumn-Winter line-up with references to tech and sporting themes. Silhouettes convey a certain ease that’s at once relaxed yet pulled-together – ribbed knits, for example, lend the collection a languid fluidity, whilst a new ORO line of cashmere sweaters provides a softer touch. Add to the mix tailored suits, picnic check trousers and matching overshirts in fine Italian cottons, smart shirtdresses, oversized vests and a standout glossy trench, and you’ve got an all-encompassing uniform for the times, a neat way of dressing for the new business as usual.
The Creative Director admits that the teams focus is always on simplifying shapes, building the collections around clever details whilst studiously breaking down form. Craftsmanship and nostalgia play a major role too, most notably in the use of embroideries and crochets, stamped leathers and brass hardware, a nod to the house’s legacy. Holt’s signature statement also takes in playful motifs – this season’s artwork includes botanical butterflies, Americana folk quilts, maps and camping scenes sourced from vintage textile libraries and her mother’s own collection.
The symbolism is hard to ignore, but though we might read into it in different ways, one obvious interpretation is that Holt is thinking deeply about the future: of mindfulness, nature and care, of new work codes and how women might dress to buoy themselves in unpredictable times.
The Creative Director believes colour and layering is a starting point: “The palette is joyful and free. There’s an overall sense of freedom to the collection, which comes in part from the energy of the Chartreuse, the True Red and Strawberry. Then you see that working in with our neutral base, a soft Pistachio, Creamed Honey and Tan. I love the modernity of those colours together and the freshness. I think it allows you to consider dressing in different ways – whether head-to-toe or in new combinations.”
OROTON’s Autumn-Winter campaign was photographed by Georges Antoni on a rolling farm in Kangaroo Valley, the backdrop a jutting escarpment covered in mist. Here, Antoni captured scenes of lightness, friendship and new beginnings (a model emerging from a cocoon-like sleeping bag, the map prints which point towards new paths are all clues). But while the collection is certainly a talisman for the times, a new offering of modern classicism, Holt says she is just doing her thing: “I think we are right to be consumed by nature right now, taking time out to breathe in the fresh air,” the Creative Director says. “It’s about caring for ourselves and those around us, and having a little fun too – it’s that whole idea of really living in the moment.”