As much as I adore Missoni, (see previous posts here and here) there is another European fashion house that gets me just as excited, perhaps even more (alora, Missoni, non e possibile!) It is the Dutch design firm of
o i l i l y.
I discovered oilily when my kids were little, first being drawn to their colors and patterns, then deciding my kids just HAD to wear the Dutch clothes, being part Dutch themselves (Jack's mother was from Amsterdam), and finally learning to appreciate the incredible thought and detail which go into every product that oilily comes up with.
Here are some of the things that I find myself most drawn to in their designs:
Fabrics - They design and print ALL of their own textiles, most of which are very colorful and interesting - and they all combine elements which go beyond normal to truly fun and exciting. Additionally, I love the way they combine different fabrics and textures, such as velvet, linen, corduroy, and Madras cotton, to name just a few.
Funky designs - Their clothes combine off-beat silhouettes and unusual design touches no one else thinks of, or bothers to put into their clothes. Oilily goes beyond the extra mile with details. And usually several different extra special details appear in each piece of clothing. Funky shaped pockets are often semi-camoflaged so that they appear as little surprises. Hemlines change from front to back, unexpectedly.
Buttons, ribbons and other details - They add "bells and whistles" to just about every item, including in-house designed custom buttons, snaps, ribbons, clips, grommets, special laces, edgings, etc.
Appliques, patchwork & embroidery - Another example of going the extra mile: as cute as their fabrics are, the company often pieces them together, embroiders on them or adds appliqued patches to create another dimension to the existing color and pattern.
Wearability & durability - To say that my kids wore their oilily clothes a lot, is an understatement. Those clothes got a lot of serious wear, and guess what? I still have every single piece, put away for their children to enjoy some day... and they are still in very good condition. Talk about well-made!
Mix & match compatibility - Their spectrum of products is comprehensively designed to mix and match in so many different ways - skirts, shirts, tights, socks, sweaters, outerwear, shoes, hair accessories, backpacks, sweatshirts, scarves... You can make so many outfits out of their cleverly designed components.
Comfort - Oilily clothes are livable and play-worthy. Lots of touches like extra roomy knees make them incredibly comfortable.
Timelessness - Their designs are so different from everything else on the market, that they transcend time, being in a category all of their own, which is timeless.
Over-the-top, slightly Bohemian, cuteness!
Oilily also creates clothes and accessories for women, which I have sometimes worn, although I would definitely feel more comfortable wearing them in Holland, where funkiness is more of an accepted way of life than it is here in New England (to say the least). There is one adult I know who can successfully pull off being an oilily gal, and that is my artist friend, Laurie Krasny Brown. When Laurie is oilily-ed from head to toe, she is herself a walking work of art! I wish I could carry it off like she does.
The following pictures combine both brand new and vintage oilily designs. As you will see, they never become dated, and can still mix and match, even if they were created decades apart.
Here are some of my favorite examples of oilily outfits for kids:
...that is, until I saw this donkey shoulder bag!
Layers - overskirt and ruffles (note that ruffles go both horizontally and vertically) are accentuated by
Large and small ginghams, plus two different florals (love the rain boots). Double-capped sleeves & ties at the shoulders.
Don't you love the bubble silhouette of this skirt, with the white ruffle underneath? And that t-shirt is very heavily embroidered - it is not printed.
The embroidery on the bib of this jumper looks South American, while the crocheted hat is 1920's flapper. And how about that gypsy caravan lunchbox?
More charming embroidery. Also I like the use of the back side of the denim for the insides of the pockets and the piping outlining the yoke.
Don't miss the embroidered rosebuds on the yoke of this skirt, as well as the crocheted flowers around the sweater neck.
Also, note the same striped tights are in the previous photo, with a totally different look.
How about a faux fur jumper with roses for buttons?
Again, that is beautiful embroidery on the blouse - not printed embellishment.
More pattern on pattern on pattern, shape upon shape.
I'm crazy about these tights with the embroidered velvet dress. And would you ever guess that the back of the dress had these surprise layers (below)?
This little dress (above and below) illustrates how well you can mix and match oilily components.
The following pictures are close-ups of some of the details I described in my opening overview of oilily:
Ribbons, buttons, loops, straps, ruffles - what's not to love?
Again, two different fabrics with the same print. I believe both are cotton, but with the very delicate, translucent weight used for the ruffle embellishment at the ankle (these are capris).
Notice the curved seams halfway down the front - totally unnecessary, but adding a whole new dimension of interest.
The insides of oilily's clothes are always as nice as the outsides.
Oilily also designs some of the cutest boys' clothing around:
I get a real kick out of that one rogue button.
My favorite feature of these pants (above & below) is the darts at the knees giving lots of extra kneeling room.
(Sorry for the poor quality of the above screen shot.)
Shoes & boots:
Check out oilily for women: