Sophie Holt on the optimist collection spring-summer 21



Sophie Holt on The Optimist Collection Spring Summer 2021

An upbeat palette and a sense of lightness – OROTON's Spring-Summer 21 collection, The Optimist, is charged with new energy and vibrance. It’s a feeling that comes to life via painterly colours, beautiful shapes and a few surprising touches. Here, Creative Director Sophie Holt shares her design notes from the studio.

"It’s about seeking out moments of escapism and looking to the future"

Creative Director Sophie Holt

It's a curious time right now. Just when we began shaking off lockdown blues, a new wave takes hold. “More than ever, it’s about seeking out moments of escapism and looking to the future,” says OROTON’s Sophie Holt. The Creative Director has been channelling the idea of finding joy in small pleasures of late, hence the theming of her latest Spring-Summer 21 collection, The Optimist. “There is a sense of energy throughout the range. We were thinking about spending an afternoon outside in the garden, a taste of slow days ahead, of recharging and how it felt, and as always, colour was our starting point.”

That idea of vitality, hope and regeneration translated into a palette of painterly brights – shades of Mango, Smoke Blue and Lemon Zest kick up a neutral base of Eggshell cream and Cognac. Silhouettes are equally compelling – a proposition, if you like, on moving on from a year of comfortable dressing towards a mood that feels lighter and full of possibility.

"It’s a happy collection, yet still precise and considered."

Creative Director Sophie Holt

Here, tone-on-tone suiting is combined with belted robe jackets and airy sundresses, while Mango-hued leathers play alongside printed silk and linen, the look softened with vibrant garden florals. “There is a dreamy and airy feeling here, a kind of prettiness mixed back with cotton drills, soft buttery leathers and heavyweight linens to create an interesting layering in the outfits, and I think our fresh palette works to make the range feel energised. It’s a happy collection, yet still precise and considered.”

As is her signature, Holt stamps each line-up with a new artwork or motif and for Spring she turned to the nostalgia of daisies, poppies, thistles and matchboxes, a tribute to her childhood and her grandmother’s curios. Texture adds another important layer with hand-worked touches serving both as a nod to homespun crafts as well as an emblem of the house’s heritage – lacework doilies accent dresses, blouses are edged with rickrack trim – all subtle clues as to what has been honoured from the past and reimagined for now.

"I love the idea that we are all thinking of ways to feel energised again and that we’re all looking ahead."

Creative Director Sophie Holt

Another call to dress in a way that makes you feel good comes via the collection’s bold jewellery: here, collectible pieces take shape from unexpected organic forms found in the sea and in nature, such as barnacles, coral and forest leaves. “We’re living in an uncertain world, and I feel like the beauty of collectable jewellery is an ideal way to lift your mood,” Holt says. “The current situation has made us more resolved than ever to focus on the positive, to look to the future. It’s about embracing colour and whimsy, to wear something special, anything that makes you feel happy. I love the idea that we are all thinking of ways to feel energised again and that we’re all looking ahead.”

Which brings us to the question of how the Creative Director is finding motivation from one season to the next: “I’m finding happiness in being creative,” Holt explains. “I get a kick out of making beautiful collections with a wonderful team. I love our debates on levels of colour or the detail in a print, that’s what makes us feel good at the moment. To see the range come to life, and its creative process along the way is always so exciting. You can’t help but feel charged by it.”