Orley’s design trio — brothers Alex and Matthew Orley and Matthew’s wife, Samantha — is steering clear of seasonal, overarching inspirations for their women’s line, which debuted last fall with a capsule collection picked up by Barneys. In the collection’s infancy, the designers want to focus on defining a clear, cohesive narrative around who the Orley woman is. “What we’re doing on the women’s side corresponds to what we do for men, but that’s not to say that it’s men’s wear for girls, because it’s not at all,” said Matthew during a walk-through at the brand’s CFDA Fashion Incubator headquarters. “Our girl wants to wear something that’s a little bit older, in a cooler way.”
Their tightly edited spring effort, done in mostly red, white and gray, encompassed an impressive range of knits — from lightweight cashmere sweaters and T-shirts to luxurious hand-crocheted sweaters with see-through paillette stitching — which lent even the chunkiest sweaters an airy feel. The standout piece, a hand-crocheted sleeveless dress that juxtaposed the circular paillette motif with a striped pattern, delivered a bold impact and tons of quirky charm. But even more simplistic knits were far from basic and rendered with cool technical details, such as Orley’s take on cashmere “sweats,” cut with a slight flare and a subtle stitch pattern at the hem.