Friday 24 February 2017

Rocha's daughter puts her designer genes on show

CAROLA LONG and CIARAN BYRNE

For 30 years he has been Ireland's most globally recognised fashion designer. Now John Rocha's daughter, Simone, is following in her famous dad's footsteps.

The 23 year old has confirmed she is planning to set up her own label and will produce the range at her father's Dublin studio.

Ms Rocha recently showed a collection at London Fashion Week. The work was part of her MA at the renowned Central Saint Martin's College in the British capital.

She has already completed a four-year degree at the National College of Art in Dublin.

In August some of her pieces will be available in her father's London shop and later in Ireland.

Ms Rocha said her collection will be based on tailored work in black and white and will be more minimal than her father's.

Speaking at his London store in Dover Street, Mr Rocha (56) and his daughter acknowledged that his work had rubbed off on her.

He said: "I think Simone's view of fashion is quite different to mine in that there is a more youthful element, and it's more edgy. But I can see the understanding of fabric, which I suppose is what I do as a designer. So you can see a certain DNA there," he said.

Ms Rocha said some of her work would draw inspiration from home including headwear that is "soft and romantic". Some of her pieces are inspired by the mourning tradition in the Aran Islands, where bereaved women wore petticoats on their heads.

Growing up in Dublin, which John Rocha made his adoptive home after moving from Hong Kong in the late 1970s, his daughter said she did not see her father's career as exotic.

"Not really. There wasn't that kind of glamour to it. It was great fun. They had all these creative friends, photographers, artists, and there was always something going on, lots of music.

"But at the end of the day, it's mum and dad and they are still giving out to you about what time you come home."

She said among the highlights of her childhood were the frequent journeys abroad, as Rocha and his wife Odette combined travel with research.

Mr Rocha opened his London boutique in 2006.

His business, called Three Moon Design, is located at Dublin's Ely Place and has a turnover of €200m per year.

Mr Rocha was named British Designer of The Year in 1994. He also has a CBE from Britain's Queen and is a stalwart of London Fashion Week.

In 2008 he was awarded the 'Special Award' at the Ernst and Young Irish Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

He studied fashion in Croydon, in England. An Irish mill sponsored the fabric for his final collection.

Mr Rocha, who has designed for Debenhams, said without the support of stores, designers would not survive.

"I don't see fashion as an elitist thing," he said. "For me it doesn't matter whether something costs €5 or €5,000, as long as it's done well."

In addition to clothes, the Rocha range includes bed linen, china, childrenswear, watches, bags and shoes. He launched the John Rocha at Waterford Crystal collection in 1997, and will continue to create the range under the company's new owners.

He has previously designed for a-wear and Brown Thomas.

Irish Independent

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