Orley Goes All Out
Orley—the effervescent New York-based menswear label designed by brothers Alex and Matthew Orley, and the latter’s fiancée, Samantha Florence—has come a long way since launching with only a handful of playful jumpers last year. Having previously focused on knitwear, Orley unveiled its first full-fledged collection for Spring ’14—all forty-five pieces of it. “Knits are still eighty percent of the [line],” offered Samantha. “But this season, we were able to build off feedback we’ve gotten from the retailers, now that we have some sales history.” And an impressive sales history it is—after only four seasons on the scene, the brand is already sold by Bergdorf Goodman, Fivestory, Carson Street Clothiers, and Tokyo’s United Arrows, among others.
The designers like to avoid any literal references when dreaming up their luxe cashmere, linen, and cotton wares. But this season, a hint of the Italian coast couldn’t help but sneak its way in. “It all starts with the palette,” explained Alex. “And recently, we had been spending a lot of time on the Adriatic because that’s where our factories are, so there are some Mediterranean reference points in the colors, the floral motifs, and the loucheness of the collection.” This comes through in a laid-back trousers-and-jacket combo cut from burnt-red linen, as well as striped cardigans in various hues of citrus or aqua, and pullovers done in oversize floral prints. “Really, it always comes back to how Matthew and I want to dress,” continued Alex of the brand’s aesthetic. “It’s irreverent—a little bit tossed on and colorful, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
Considering the emerging menswear boom we’ve seen in New York of late (just look at Public School, Tim Coppens, Todd Snyder, and the like), young brands need a little something extra to stand out. And the Orley crew asserts that its appeal lies in the sheer quality of its product. The knits, all of which are produced in Italy (wovens are made right here in the USA), are crafted with top-notch yarns from mills like Loro Piana and Cariaggi. And one can’t overlook the to-a-T details, like horn and gilded buttons, grosgrain and leather trims, and combination linings.
Orley seems well positioned to forge ahead, and it has big goals for the future, including expanded e-commerce, suiting, and—a few years down the road—a stand-alone store. As for the team’s family dynamic, Alex insists that it helps the creative process. “If it comes down to a decision that we really can’t agree on, Matthew and I will arm wrestle,” he laughed. The biggest talking point this season? “I’ve been yelling at Matthew to propose to Sam for five years now, and this year he finally did it,” said Alex. “So that was the main point of discussion.”