For those in need of a sartorial pick-me-up, Hayley Menzies’ maximalist prints feature prowling tigers, constellations and unfurling blooms, in a vibrant, spirit-lifting palette of leopard print, chartreuse green and cornflower blue. Queen of the statement coatigan – a coat/cardigan hybrid – her delightfully flamboyant pieces are designed to be insouciantly thrown over denim, while instantly elevating T-shirts and loungewear.
Menzies briefly studied at London College of Fashion before dropping out because “partying and boys were just too much fun. I used to have a party planning business during my modelling days and loved the creativity of the costume and event design.”
Her bohemian spirit and love of theatrics feed into her collections of wafting silk crepe de chine dresses and merino wool cardigans, made using ethically sourced yarns. “I know my suppliers personally and it’s key for me to be able to hop on a plane and visit them, especially during sampling,” Menzies affirms. “My collections are made by a mother-and-daughter duo who run the factory and are incredibly passionate about what they do. It is important for me to use responsibly sourced materials – sustainability is a by-product of conscious living.”
The label began as a stall on Portobello Market in 2011 and is now stocked at Liberty and Harrods. This month marks Menzies’ first standalone boutique in Chelsea, set over two floors on the King’s Road. The shop embodies the designer’s exuberant, retro-suffused style, furnished with patterned rugs, vintage lampshades and a large antique ottoman reupholstered in original Hayley Menzies prints. The designer’s ready-to-wear collection is also accompanied by colourful cushions made using seasonal fabrics.
Her prints draw influence from travels in Africa and Asia, as well as her own archive of vintage clothing. “I adore the layers and intricacy of Hermès scarves and I also reference vintage Escada and Christian Lacroix. Karen Vintage in Notting Hill is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite shop in London and perhaps the world.”
Menzies’ free-spirited collections are also inspired by parties gone by, both in London and further afield. “I love parties under the stars, preferably themed as I adore planning and creating outfits – that’s half of the fun. There used to be a party called Kimberley in the lakeside grounds of Kimberley Hall in Norfolk, which would end up in the basement of the house. It was the most incredible of parties – part festival, part rave.”
On this year’s decided lack of parties, I share Menzies’ sentiments: “Bring me the glamour, canapés and champagne,” she asserts. “I just want to attend the most chi-chi and decadent of parties where everyone makes a huge effort and gets dressed up. A party that goes on until sunrise. I’ll likely be in bed by 2am but still, to have the option to dance all night right now is dreamy. This whole 10pm situation is killing me; we all need some fun after the past few months.”
While large parties may be off the cards for now, those seeking a moment of glamour and reverie would do well to head to Menzies’ King’s Road cornucopia, where you can momentarily lose yourself in the British designer’s feel-good prints, fluffy knits and colourful homeware collections.
40 Duke of York Square, SW3hayleymenzies.com