Designer Orla Kiely cancels Sheffield book festival talk after closing business 

Orla Kiely has cancelled her Off The Shelf appearance.
Orla Kiely has cancelled her Off The Shelf appearance.

Designer Orla Kiely has pulled out of a Sheffield literary festival after her retail and wholesale fashion business was put into liquidation.    

Kiely was due to appear at Off The Shelf on October 25 to talk about her book ‘A Life In Pattern’ – but the event has now been cancelled.

The Irish designer, who produced the ubiquitous Stem motif and whose dresses are worn by Kate Middleton, announced her online shop and stores in Kildare and London were closing last week.

It followed the collapse of parent company Kiely Rowan. Directors of the firm decided to place the business into creditors' voluntary liquidation.

A spokeswoman for Off The Shelf said ticketholders would get their money back.

“We are sorry to announce that, due to circumstances beyond our control, the event with Orla Kiely has been cancelled,” she said. “We apologise for any disappointment this may cause. If you have purchased tickets for this event please contact the box office you bought them from to obtain a refund.”

The festival talk, in the auditorium at Sheffield University’s students’ union, would have involved Kiely being interviewed by Ana-Cecilia Guzman. The book was described in the programme as ‘a celebration of Orla’s work – of colour, print and how pattern can make you happy without you even noticing’.

Consultancy David Rubin & Partners, which has been appointed to wind down Kiely Rowan and liquidate its assets, said the brand had been hit by ‘challenges’. Turnover grew last year but profits fell from £109,000 to £74,000. Creditors are owned in total up to £10 million and buyers are being sought for the business.

Orla Kiely Home and Design-branded accessories and homeware will still be sold through partners.

Kiely set up the brand in 1995 with her husband Dermott Rowan.