PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHANIQWA JARVIS
REPORT BY DAVID HAYES

The Moorcroft vases in Eley Kishimoto patterns are speaking. “It’s Welsh girls talking about being pots,” says Mark Eley on a tour of Eley Kishimoto’s exhibition of its collection and collaborations, Living with Patterns. “Wakako wrote the script. Our daughter thinks it sounds just like a Radio 4 play,” he adds of the soundtrack hidden in the vase.

Twenty years in fashion and as a married couple (“We got married in 1992 and opened the studio the same year”) has done nothing to dampen the duo’s sense of fun. Or their serious love of design.

“I was reluctant to put the anniversary out there. This is just another moment in our working lives,” says Mark, “but we have come to a place where we’ve nailed our signatures. We almost feel like a heritage brand!”

A timely return to the London Fashion Week schedule rightly confirms them as the original London print label. “Digital print makes everything so homogenised these days. I truly believe that Wakako is one of the strongest print designers in the world,” says Mark of his wife’s lovely “old-school” designs. “We didn’t set out to be traditional,” adds Wakako, with a wink. “We’ve just never had a digital-print machine!”

And the new collection? Lashings of those eye-popping signature prints, naturally – some that tie in with recent crafty collaborations, like the one with Moorcroft.
You can literally buy the ‘Talking Daffodils’ dress and get the matching Moorcroft vase – without the chattering Welsh-girl soundtrack, of course. Now that would be just
plain crazy.

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