Five Irish designers who made a splash at London Fashion Week
It’s no secret that Irish designers set the pace for London Fashion Week. In the absence of big names such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham, Irish designers like Simone Rocha have become key names at the five-day event.
LFW is home to Paul Costelloe’s feminine doyennes and RIXO’s zesty cocktail dresses in geometric prints, sequins and velvet, inspired by the 1930s golden age of Old Hollywood glamour, which prove that Irish fashion comes in its own right. many forms. There’s Richard Malone, who showed off a calmer, more intimate collection on the official fashion week platform on Tuesday afternoon as he’s in the midst of moving studios and will present a new runway collection in September. , as well as bringing its Making and Momentum exhibition to Wexford in April. There’s Colin Horgan, a rising talent from Kerry with the guts to compete in the big fashion leagues with his wonderful, knife-edged, edgy designs. He showed a film on Tuesday morning to unveil his latest work.
Unrivaled forces to be reckoned with, the Irish creators more than proved themselves in this season’s episode. We’ve picked the best local talent you need to know from London Fashion Week.
With ten years and Independent Designer of the Year at last year’s Fashion Awards under her belt, Simone Rocha has entered her second decade as one of London’s most important designers. In the courteous Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn (the first time the venue has functioned as a space for a fashion show), to a soundtrack that included a remix of Sinead O’Connor singing “Nothing Compares 2 U”, she continued to exploit his Irish descent for inspiration.
The mythical Oidheadh Chlainne Lir, or simply the Children of Lir, served as her primary inspiration in an elegiac mood steeped in blue velvet robes encrusted with glittering crystal lozenges and fanciful taffeta gowns – the effect was regal and whimsical underlined by a sinister edge.
With the royal children of myth in mind, Rocha’s cast of ethereal characters stormed the dark venue adorned in ethereal, voluminous dresses with crinolines exploding with tulle and sheer shifts with swan embroidery.
Pearl and ruby details enrich dresses and long stockings, and crystal-embellished balaclavas become the most coveted accessories of the season.
Despite Rocha’s penchant for adornments, she’s shrewdly practical in other areas: She leans into that pragmatism with beautifully cut black cargo pants under black peplum tops and sensible ballerina-style shoes (albeit dripping with pearl accents). Biker jackets with a strapless detail have become a mainstay of her collections, further imbuing her feminine aesthetic with a punk edge.
In her first show in two years, Robyn Lynch pushed her creativity and ingenuity with a menswear collection that left everyone in the audience, especially the Irish contingent, hungry for more. In collaboration with Columbia, Lynch recycled 10 jackets from the mountaineering brand’s extensive archive. Packable rain jackets become cropped down jackets while an emphasis on tailoring has showcased its technical prowess.
Sneaky details have crept into the collection – like the outline of Ireland embossed on denim buttons and intricately stitched onto trousers using reflective fabrics. Four of his father’s old Dublin GAA shirts were deformed by Synflux, a speculative fashion lab that uses artificial intelligence algorithms. On Lynch’s show, the references to Ireland are meaningful and consistent but never trivial.
The enthusiastic applause, shouts and endless squeals given to Lynch as she briefly stepped out of the backstage speaks to her fierce talent as a menswear designer. Vogue even proclaimed her “Irish Junya Watanabe”, a well-deserved comparison with the irresistible Japanese designer who parades in Paris.
This star has the wind in its sails.
Although it was midday on a Monday, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, the married duo behind Preen, whisked us away to Heaven Nightclub, Charing Cross’s world-renowned gay nightclub. Led by a performance by the English National Ballet School, the ballet movement gave life to clothing inspired by 1980s club culture, New Romantic and dance.
Thornton and Bregazzi, who is half-Irish (her mother is from Mullinahone, County Tipperary), tinkered with their 80s influences with sustainability in mind, piecing together scraps from previous seasons, leftovers and leftovers from fabrics. A hooded puffer jacket adorns a check blazer, a bomber jacket and a blazer become one, a tight dress is adorned with a troika of cutouts. Other highlights included argyle knits and patchwork bomber jackets that gave proceedings a homey feel. Committed not only to their environmental impact, Thornton and Bregazzi work with new charitable initiatives each season to give back to different communities. Heaven Nightclub as a venue makes perfect sense considering this season’s chosen charity, The Outside Project, which is Britain’s first LGBTIQ+ shelter and center run by formerly homeless people LGBTIQ+ as well as homelessness professionals and activists.
For their LFW debut, Savile Row’s Banshee took over Mayfair’s Messums Gallery for a living room exhibition and screening of their new film. Ruby Slevin and Rocco Tullio, the design duo behind the partly female-run womenswear company based on London’s historic couture street and Dublin’s United Arts Club, elaborate on the possibilities of the suit. When the pandemic first hit two years ago, wardrobe essentials were proclaimed dead. Slevin and Tullio disagree.
As Savile Row’s premier women’s couture brand, Slevin and Tullio are uniquely positioned to rethink what couture can mean. “The rules for women are different. You could almost say more bespoke suits for women,” says Rocco. Ruby adds, “we want to break all the rules.”
With an emphasis on versatility and separates, rather than full suits, in plush fabrics like seersucker, linen, velvet, corduroy – and with thousands of other possibilities available – the pair is arrived at something utterly modern for Fall/Winter 2022: safari suits, belted with a notch lapel and flared pants, black velvet opera coats and a black denim work suit made from of the best blend of cotton and linen Loro Piana. Completely handcrafted, cut from sustainably sourced fabrics from England and Italy, Savile Row’s Banshee claims that “there’s so much more [to the suit].”
“We wanted to create a thoughtful collection that is the antithesis of the claustrophobia we’ve collectively experienced over the past two years,” Slevin said. “A bold return to glamour, the clothes were designed as a way to liberate herself, empowering the Banshee woman with power, confidence and an appetite for pleasure.”
The couple enlisted Lee Malone to capture the collection in the expansive gardens of Birr Castle Demesne, where the collection comes to life amid the verdant landscapes.
Instead of a formal presentation, Sharon Wauchob has hosted intimate get-togethers in her London studio where clients and traveling press from around the world can ride the rails of her latest collection of sumptuous fabrics and sleek silhouettes.
Sensuality and restraint prevail in the Derry designer’s latest outing which consists of 24 handcrafted looks inspired by a boy-girl narrative and the timeless quest to achieve the highest caliber of luxury.
“I’ve always understood the energy and effort that go into making luxury clothing. As soon as you touch something premium, you can see what sets luxury apart,” said Wauchob, whose impressive pedigree includes a four-year stint at Louis Vuitton.
It is a fundamental value that is revealed in the expert and textured use of the fabric. A floaty draped dress in silk jersey is brushed with a metallic finish that resembles lurex. A sleeveless cream coat is made from bonded wool, a responsible alternative to soft sheepskin but with the same effect.
Few observe the tension between masculinity and femininity like Wauchob as she effortlessly pairs silk skirts and sheer undergarments alongside smooth leather tuxedo jackets. Thick satin briefs are effervescent and light, while contrasting wool cuts and metal details reflect the ubiquitous gender tension in our wardrobes.