John Rocha: Coming to an optician near you
He's turning 60 this summer and John Rocha is determined to make a spectacle of himself.
The veteran Dublin-based designer is internationally renowned for his clothes and homeware – and now he's launching his first range for Specsavers.
As two willowy models clad in black and wearing the signature item of the day meandered through the room at the Cliff Townhouse in Dublin, Rocha sat down with The Diary to explain why now is the right time to venture into a new arena.
"I'm getting older myself and have come to find I need reading glasses, like many others out there. We can't help it happening and they're a medical instrument that we simply can't live without," he said.
"This gave me an opportunity to explore another avenue and provide a product that is practical, but still looks good."
Unlike his usual clobber, which takes Rocha an average of six months to see come to fruition, the eyewear range took an entire year to create.
"I went to Hong Kong to understand the technical side of this collection and how properly to produce it, but also to understand the importance of comfort while bringing in the John Rocha element.
"It was more challenging for me than anything else. With dresses you can create a look, be it with hair, or make-up. This is just one piece, so it has to be right and suit every shape face."
The couturier may be in the mood to branch out of his comfort zone, but unlike his fashion peer Peter O'Brien, 'film set costume designer' is not on his list.
"I worked on This is the Sea with Gabriel Byrne and Richard Harris – long may he rest – in the '90s.
"It was very stressful for me. People, actors, have an idea of what they want the character to look like – and what you think works, they might not like.
"You need a lot of time to do it – just like wedding dresses. That's all too personal for me. I like to just produce a line, what I believe in, and if you don't like it, don't buy it."