Coming home from evenings partying with friends, Olivia von Halle would long to ditch her sky-high heels and constricting outfits for something glamorous enough to enjoy a gin and tonic in before sliding off to bed.
Inspired by the lounging pyjamas worn by Coco Chanel and her contemporaries in the 1920s, she started work with her tailor to design the perfect pair of pyjamas. In 2011 she returned to London to launch the Olivia von Halle brand. Olivia now lives in London with her husband Hugo, son Hieronymus and boxer dog Bathtub.
Olivia’s namesake brand blurs the line between nightwear and ready-to-wear. After launching with just one classic yet meticulously considered style, the ‘Lila’ pyjama, Olivia von Halle grew to include an extensive offering of pyjamas, robes, kimonos, nightshirts and eye masks. Having established a repertoire of ‘hero’ styles that fused a hunger for loungewear innovation with resolute attention to detail, the brand quickly carved a niche for itself in the fashion world. The luxe pyjama was here to stay.
Olivia takes Citizen Femme through her London.
When is the best time of year to visit London and why?
Every season is so different in London it’s hard to pick just one but if I had to it would be December. There are parties every night of the week, London is so Christmassy and beautifully lit, everyone goes (even more) to town with what they wear and there’s an air of general excitement about the city – you get the feeling that all bets are off and that anything could happen…
How have your city and your travels influenced your work?
London is such an inspiring place to live and work. We are so lucky here with so many amazing exhibitions and I’m surrounded by so many interesting people – even just people who you see walking down the street. It’s incredibly faced-paced, and anything goes here which I find really liberating.
Where do you go to get inspired?
I love the exhibitions at the V&A, always so inspiring and the permanent collections are amazing too.
Which is your favourite neighbourhood and why?
I love Ladbroke Grove where I live. It has an incredible sense of community which I think comes from Notting Hill Carnival and Portobello and Golborne Markets. Where so much of London feels like it can be happening behind closed doors around Ladbroke Grove it’s all on the streets which gives it an amazing buzzy vibe where you know your neighbours and everyone chats.
Read our full weekend guide to West London here
What’s the best way to get around?
I love to walk wherever I can. London moves so fast and new places pop up all the time, walking is the best way to be the first to discover them.
What should I wear?
Anything goes! But at the moment I’m loving everything from The Vampires Wife.
Essential item to pack?
Our Hero Virginia velvet dress. It’s so versatile you can dress it up or down and it will literally take you anywhere.
Claridge’s – it’s a British institution!
I’ve always been passionate about horses and am lucky enough to have my own, Herman, who is an 18.2hh Irish Draught. Looking after horses is pretty physical and so I pour most of energy into that and riding him on my parent’s farm in Kent. When I’m in London though, I put on my wellies and stomp through the mud on Hampstead Heath with my boxer dog, Bathtub. It’s such a retreat from the hustle and bustle of London. I go early to beat the crowds.
Your favourite places to shop?
In a dream world it would have to be Mount Street in Mayfair. Jessica McCormack, Alessandra Rich, Celine and the new Matches Townhouse = heaven.
Roka, Charlotte Street – the most delicious Japanese.
The Ledbury, Ledbury Road – incredibly indulgent, but the best place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary.
Oldroyd, Upper Street – new-age European with a twist, great for a long leisurely lunch. Keep an eye out for Keira Knightley who seems to get brunch there most weekends!
The Drapers Arms, Barnsbury Street – the best Sunday roast in London.
The best place to grab brunch is…
I live for The Wolseley. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
And a nightcap…
The attic in 5 Hertford Street, its super cosy and tucked away from the mayhem of the main club. It’s worth going for the interiors alone but the drinks are out of this world. They don’t have a drinks menu, just amazing barmen who can make the most delicious version of whatever you feel like.
What’s the one unmissable local attraction?
I love getting lost in The Natural History Museum.
What’s the city you visit to get out of London?
You can’t beat LA for a real break from London, and reality! The weather is wonderfully predictable (such a welcome change after London!), the vibe is super relaxed, and the city has so much to offer. Chateau Marmont is my all-time favourite hotel. It has old school charm and glamour but with a distinctly naughty side – you never know who you’re going to meet or where the night will take you. The food in LA is also amazing. I love MTN on Abbot Kinney in Venice, it’s the best Japanese izakaya from the people behind Gjelina and Gjusta.
Souvenir to take home?
I collect funny little horse sculptures and last time I was in LA I found a lovely Japanese wooden block one with a punky mane and tail from a Japanese shop in Venice Beach on Abbot Kinney. He looked so out of place there I had to bring him home. Unique and personal pieces make the best souvenirs.
Tell us your favourite secret spot in London.
Laylow on Golborne Road is cosy yet sumptuous and is the best place to head after hours. The super chic interior was designed by Bella Freud and it’s got a really intimate, old-world glamour to it. The after parties there are something else.
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