The cat’s pyjamas: the wonderful world of Olivia von Halle, fashion designer.

Circumstance has dictated that many of us have become more acquainted with our leisure or loungewear than we might ever have imagined possible in the past couple of years. Lockdown saw us ditch the constricting conventions of formal work attire or fancy eveningwear, instead giving us permission to don our comfies day after day. If only, then, our relaxation clothes had been as beautiful as those created by Olivia von Halle, the fashion designer behind some of the most luxe pyjamas and loungewear you’ll find anywhere.

Olivia studied fashion and textiles before going on to work as a trend forecaster for the Future Laboratories in London and then later for various agencies in Shanghai. There, she was immersed in the world of luxury, with wall-to-wall high-end clients including Louis Vuitton, the Gucci Group, and Lamborghini. But, even as she rubbed shoulders with the great and the good, when she came home she would immediately fling off the constraints of the de rigueur glam get-up in favour of comfort. However, she yearned for a halfway house: night- or loungewear that would be equal to an elegant nightcap but also relaxed enough to slip under the covers in.

Inspired by the 1920s and, specifically, the photogenic pyjamas worn by the likes of Coco Chanel, she began to dream of the platonic ideal of luxury sleep attire. Enthused and ready to go, she returned to London in 2011 to launch her eponymous brand with her husband Hugo – a move that paid off handsomely with almost immediate effect: Harrods snapped up their very first collection – and the rest is history.

We ricochet between the Amalfi coast and Pierre Cardin’s Bubble Palace in Cannes on a whirlwind tour of the fabulous world of Olivia von Halle.

Follow her on Instagram here.

Favourite place in all the world?

I grew up in rural England, and my strongest ties are still in the country. My family’s new home in Wiltshire has become a large figment in my mind, especially as it’s where my beloved horse, Herman, likes to roam!

Dream holiday?

Our next collection is inspired by the iconic photos Slim Aarons took of society darlings lounging along the Amalfi coast. It’s got me dreaming of the beaches of southern Italy, spaghetti al vongole and Aperol on ice.

Most coveted item right now?

Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis overnight facial. It distils everything I love about Sarah Chapman into a single product, and it’s totally transformed my skincare.

Proudest professional moment to date?

Harrods buying into the brand the first season we launched – they were our first stockist and it signifies in my mind the moment the brand came to life, marking the beginning of the adventure!

Your dream future project?

It’s happening right now! I’m renovating the house and have absolutely loved playing around with fabulous interiors.

Who has been your most inspiring mentor, professionally or personally?

As a Walpole Brand Of Tomorrow, I was lucky enough to be mentored by Michael Ward. His help was invaluable to a young business owner.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Amazing interiors from the past often appear on the moodboards for our collections. Our SS22 moodboard featured images of the amazing Palais Bulles ‘Bubble Palace’ near Cannes, France. It was Pierre Cardin’s holiday home in the 1970s and it is like a house from a mad dream. I love nothing more than hosting and you could throw some pretty mega parties in this house.

What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. He’s an expert on fungi and their many hidden, undiscovered properties that could totally transform the way we think about mental health and wellness.

Best film you’ve seen recently?

House of Gucci for the out-and-out glamour of the costumes and the over-the-top performances.

Best binge-watched TV show?

A Very British Scandal. It’s bingeworthy and the perfect mix of history, glamour, and scandal.

Top podcast of the moment?

I don’t really listen to podcasts but I do love raiding the back catalogue of Desert Island Discs. I recently listened to Isabella Tree’s episode after reading her book, Wilding, which I found incredibly inspiring.

Your hero?

Diana Vreeland 1978 ©Lynn Gilbert

Diana Vreeland. A true original.
Image: Diana Vreeland 1978 ©Lynn Gilbert/Wikimedia Commons

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Not to be that person, but perhaps a horse…

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A bodyguard! I was fascinated by how mysterious they seemed, and I thought it would be glamorous to travel.

Worst job you’ve ever done?

Working as a Chalet Girl. I was terrible at it!

Favourite dish to cook?

Whatever my husband Hugo, the real chef, is cooking.

Favourite café/ restaurant?

Roka – the best Japanese!

What tune always makes you want to dance?

I Can’t Go For That by Daryl Hall & John Oates is a disco classic that never fails to get me onto the dance floor.

Favourite website or app?

Ecosia – it's a search engine that uses the ad revenue generated by your searches to plant trees where they’re needed most.

Most useful thing on your desk?

My bright yellow Smythson notebook. I feel lost without it.

Which five people, dead or alive, would you find most interesting to be stuck in a lift with?

Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit

Diana Vreeland, Nancy Mitford, Cecil Beaton, The Queen, Cleopatra.
Image: Nasa/ Wikimedia Commons

Favourite building?

The V&A for its contents. Such a treasure trove of inspiration, plus they put on the best exhibits.

Favourite Instagrammer or tweeter?

Luke Millington-Drake for his Keira Knightley impressions.

Your screensaver?

My family – my husband Hugo, my children Chaos, Hiero, and Triptych.

What would your biography be called?

Why Be Dull?

What would be your epitaph?

At the after-party.

By Nancy Alsop
April 2022

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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.