Tuesday 19 March 2019

Female body and intimacy supply inspiration for Irish designers' stunning shows

Underwear starring as outerwear: One of Simone Rocha’s creations on the catwalk during
London Fashion Week
Underwear starring as outerwear: One of Simone Rocha’s creations on the catwalk during London Fashion Week

Bairbre Power in London

Irish designers explored intimacy and the female body in innovative ways at London Fashion Week.

Simone Rocha left her audience thoroughly breathless at the Royal Academy of Arts on Saturday after a stunningly ethereal AW19 presentation.

She explained how the collection "started with the ideas of intimacy, privacy, security and femininity".

The collection felt "connected to the human body, exposing the undergarments, female forms embedded on to masculine tailoring".

Underwear starred as outerwear and gleaming, old-school satin bras fell loosely from the shoulders over layered diaphanous, organza trenchcoats.

What was revealed in the 44-look show was a very wearable, cross-generational collection which will appeal to her customers of many ages.

Shiny sequins were new and had huge impact, especially in the princess-feel gold dresses and styling had a modern day royal vibe with crystal crown hair bands and matching twinkly earrings.

Personal favourites included striking black wool coats imbued with waves of lurex threads, a standout series of coats and jackets in a damask-like fabric, and luxury black satins lavishly ruched to great effect. It was a very empowering collection, uber-pretty and feminine.

Fashion magic: A Natalie B Coleman piece from her ‘Sisters’ collaboration
Fashion magic: A Natalie B Coleman piece from her ‘Sisters’ collaboration

The drama was ratcheted up by Rocha's models who included pals such as actress and director Chloë Sevigny, writer/director Lily Cole plus Helmut Newton muse Marie Sophie Wilson, artist Conie Vallese, film maker Clara Cullen, Jeny Howorth and singer Evangeline Ling.

The collection paid homage to Louise Bourgeois, and after the show, Simone acknowledged that being able to reinterpret her fabric works into Irishwomen's vocabulary had been "a privilege".

Meanwhile, Natalie B Coleman's partnership with the United Nations Population Fund on a collaborative 'Sisters' collection, produced fashion magic with a tactile collection that explored the female reproductive system.

A stunning white wedding dress which, Natalie explained, referenced child marriage featured elaborate Carrickmacross lace with one ovary on a sleeve taking 32 hours to make in buttonhole stitch.

"Where the heart is, there's petals missing and falling away and the whites run to pink and red," explained Natalie.

Sisterhood

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development at which sexual and reproductive health became a fundamental human right.

Natalie said her collection symbolised the collaborative power of sisterhood, and the coming together of women to mobilise and build the support required to fulfil the pledge of that landmark international conference.

Made in Dublin and her native Co Monaghan, pieces shown at the model installation at the Discovery Lab on the Strand were a cream jumper showing a woman's fallopian tubes and uterus with hand embroidery, French knotting, hand knitting and Carrickmacross lace.

Irish Independent

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