Rocha brings Wicklow walks to runway

MOST of us return from a walk in Wicklow with a hearty appetite and a pocket full of wild berries. But John Rocha returned with striking mental images of winter-bright rural landscapes which he interpreted for an urban catwalk with shades of meadow green and olive.

Rocha's weekend trips to Wicklow's Sally Gap with photographer pal Perry Ogden inspired the autumn/winter 2013 collection he presented at London Fashion Week. There's lots of innovation coming from Rocha and, for the second season in a row, he embraced strong colour, producing easy-wear coats and separates in double jersey.

There was a very Irish moment when one model in a belted, A-line cape coat in bright green passed a model wearing an orange mohair dress – Tricol-our shades from the Hong Kong-born designer who has lived in Ireland for the past 30 years.

His black dress of hand-crocheted cartwheels with metallic finish is destined for a red carpet appearance soon, perhaps on Saoirse Ronan, a big fan of the Rochas.

However, the star of the show was undoubtedly his finale offering of a Swiss lace coat and bell-shaped dress, a totally covetable combination. The 100pc cotton fabric was painted with latex, giving a subtle shimmer.

Backstage later, Rocha told me: "I like the idea of some old-fashioned charm, coat and dresses together. For me, at this stage of my career, it's all about making women as beautiful as possible – it's not just about the clothes."

Front-row guests included his family – wife Odette, son Max, who did the music for the show, daughter Simone who shows tomorrow, and eldest daughter Zoe, who works in film.

Meanwhile, Orla Kiely veered away from the traditional and recreated the world of the 1950s typing pool, a concept inspired by the movie 'The Best of Everything' starring Joan Crawford. Kiely and her husband Dermott Rowan sought out the correct desks, manual typewriters and more, right down to period music. And then came the clothes – dainty dresses, tailored suits, feature handbags and patent shoes.


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