Shoe designer Olivia Morris is done with heels and has switched her focus to slippers. Absolutely quizzes her…
By Pendle Harte
“It now seems a simple equation…. shoes plus interiors = slippers!”
How did the At Home collection come about?
I just really love being at home! My life revolves around my home in St Leonards on Sea. Raising my young family, I’ve always worked from home for various periods of my career and I socialise here…..there’s nothing I love more than having friends over for drinks or supper or an impromptu kitchen disco.
A love of interiors is probably deeply ingrained and I’ve grown up around them…..my Mum trained as an interior designer when I was a little girl…..I remember stippling our bathroom wall at home with kitchen roll in the 80s! Also, home is very much a sanctuary for me, even more so in the times we are all living through and I have a true love of colour, texture and wallpaper. Combine that with a fascination with flora and fauna and it makes for an eclectic combination that makes me happy.
After 20 years of having my own collection, and then working in London, I felt it was time to launch my own collection again, but wanted to do something a little bit different that combined all of the above. Looking back to a couple of years ago when I started to think it through, it now seems a simple equation….shoes plus interiors = slippers!
Why slippers and not shoes?
Because I’m genuinely done with heels! I’ve always loved flats and I felt there wasn’t anything comfortable and chic that I could wear at home, or going to friends’ houses, or pack for a weekend away. I was also aware after 20 years in the industry that the designer market is flooded with incredible dress shoes… I wanted to design something unique and find a niche part of the market to explore. Slippers have given me the opportunity to combine my passions and I’ve created something that you can pack for a weekend away, a hotel stay, dinner or drinks at friends houses or garden parties. The collection has leather soles, so it’s very much indoor/outdoor – or as I have started to call it ‘at home and away’.
What materials do you work with?
I have a huge collection of vintage textiles that I select from each season for limited edition small batches. I am working hard to be as sustainable as possible as a business moving forward, so when buying fabrics from suppliers I work as local as possible with my family-run factory in Spain, and I’m drawn to pure-blend, high quality materials like the cotton terry and cotton velvets which are made in the same village as my factory and are becoming my seasonless best-sellers.
Do you still design shoes?
I cant get away from it I suppose….that’s why I call them House Shoes. They are constructed like a shoe, but I’ve worked closely with the factory in product development to make them as comfortable as possible, without sacrificing the style element. For example, I use memory foam footbeds and lightweight cork wedges, all part of what you don’t see, but what makes them super soft and comfortable.
What inspires your aesthetic?
I have great fun researching incredible and eclectic women from decades past and these form a huge part of my inspiration and I get such a great reaction when I share these with my clients. I think a little fantasy goes a long way, but for my collection I also consider how women live their lives at home now & how they want to feel good for themselves, not just when they go out. And as I mentioned, colour, texture, florals are a constant.
Who is the Olivia Morris woman?
I think she’s a modern day woman with an eclectic twist. She likes a nod to nostalgia, but is looking forward in her life. Also, I think my new customer is searching for quality and investment, for something new and original because she’s an individual and unique.
On a practical level dressing is about making life as simple as possible and these are no fuss and easy to slip on.
Are you always glamorous at home?
No! But I am busy and I need things to be as simple as possible when its comes to my wardrobe so that there’s less to think about when time is of the essence. I definitely dress from the feet up: slipping on a pair of slippers and throwing on a dress (vinatge, kaftan or kimono – or, coming soon, my collab House Dress with Valerie Goad) is my go-to, with a big knit cardi and socks in winter. And then for dressing up all I need to add is red lipstick.
Olivia Morris at Home is at taking over the gallery at Anthropologie, 131-141 King’s Road SW3 from 16 to 26 September
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