VIDEO: Romance in the air as Rocha woos with flirtatious florals
THERE'S life in the old dog yet.
And three weeks after his 60th birthday, John Rocha has delivered one of his finest, most alluring collections in years at London Fashion Week.
His spring/summer 2014 show this weekend was a masterclass in how to take what you are good at, such as texture, embellishment and layering in black and ivory, and make them exceptional and desirable.
John created drama with mesmerising fabrics and feminine shapes. There was whisper-light black tulle embroidered with gold raffia, exquisite lacquered and glazed laces and a stunning finale dress created with loops of organza piping.
His unexpected use of big blossom prints was inspired by rose gardens in the south of France and equally delightful were the wide-brimmed trellis hats, which cast a delicious shadow over ultra-simple, bias-cut georgette sheaths.
Hard and soft, tough yet tender, the collection explored contemporary elegance and was a true celebration of romance, as John had intended.
The audience sat up as his first model arrived out in a dress of white organza embroidered with individual red flowers and there were plenty of surprises around the corner as 25 models with corrugated hair presented very individual looks ranging from sheer, sexy, see-through georgette to full-skirted, 1950s-style frocks.
Highlights included a slim, black silhouette with peplum of shredded georgette, and a cloud-effect ivory organza skirt with scattered fabric roses.
"After 27 years in London, I feel that unless I had something to say, I shouldn't be here. I am very proud of this collection," said John.
Irish designers held London Fashion Week audiences captivated over the weekend.
Zoe Jordan served us the ultimate capsule wardrobe of streetwear through to eveningwear. JW Anderson put women in men's print pyjamas and men in kilts (see panel).
We visited Orla Kiely, the queen of print, who hosted a holiday trip where the girl guide in you goes on fashion safari.
Orla also treated us to a preview of her '70s-inspired shoe collaboration with Clarks with lots of ankle-tied sandals that looked colourful and cute.