Friday 24 November 2017

Irish designers go back to their youth for London Fashion Week

Two striped looks from Richard Malone. Photo: Chris Yates
Two striped looks from Richard Malone. Photo: Chris Yates
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Irish designers showing at London Fashion Week tapped into inspiration from their childhoods to create stunning catwalk looks which were widely acclaimed in a weekend of Spring-Summer 2018 shows.

Richard Malone (27) had the honour of opening the Spring-Summer 2018 collections at LFW on Friday and his "quietly defiant" collection which included lots of stripes, for which the Ardcavan man is now famous, and factored in some patchworking skills he learned making GAA flags.

Rebellion comes in many forms, says Malone, who turned to a tawdry colour palette of 'supermarket' blue, green and yellow. He looked to "weird contrast" such as when the well-dressed guests arrive into town for the Wexford Opera Festival and how the locals dressed.

His first exposure to formal dressing came in the photographs that his grandparents Patrick Harper and his late wife Christina brought home from their holidays in Blackpool.

His collection included lots of sculptural, dramatic silhouettes, but while these dresses may denote high-octane femininity, he is quick to assert: "This is not glamour."

His new fabrication, Lyocell, is made from the bark of eucalyptus trees, and came to life in duster coats and halter-neck dresses.

Rich handwork and playful innocence in two looks by Simone Rocha at her LFW show at Middle Temple, the British law chamber
Rich handwork and playful innocence in two looks by Simone Rocha at her LFW show at Middle Temple, the British law chamber
Rich handwork and playful innocence in two looks by Simone Rocha at her LFW show at Middle Temple, the British law chamber

Meanwhile, Dubliner Simone Rocha consolidated her reputation for subversive femininity collapsing frills, hand-painted flowers, silk tulle and a collection that was inspired by dolls from her childhood. Rocha, who turned 31 last week, and has a 21-month-old daughter Valentine, recalled after the show how she had china dolls with Victorian dresses when she was little and used to send them down the banisters at home, so they ended up with cracked faces.

They provided some inspiration for the collection with its strong Edwardian vibes. She experimented with ballooning white cotton shapes and broderie anglaise with exaggerated cutwork holes and puff sleeves. In contrast, there was a new long, lean and supremely sexy silhouette gleamed in bias-cut charmeuse.

One of Rocha's signature looks has been her layered tulles, and for SS18 there's a striking motif of red dolls holding hands across hemlines which is brilliantly offset by luxurious red satin shoes.

Shoe fans will be pleased by her introduction of scallop-edged flat sandals and pearlised Mary-Janes.

Simone Rocha. Photo: Getty Images
Simone Rocha. Photo: Getty Images

Rocha's collection is exclusive in Ireland to Havana in Donnybrook and I suspect her Irish fans will zone in on her modern macs with their lace and pearls, quilted suits with hand-stitched pinstripes and washed silks. Best of all, this talented young mum designs for women of all ages.

Two striped looks from Richard Malone. Photo: Chris Yates
Two striped looks from Richard Malone. Photo: Chris Yates
Richard Malone. Photo: Anthony Woods
Richard Malone. Photo: Anthony Woods

Irish Independent

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