The rise of Danielle Romeril
Things are about to get crazy for the award-winning Dubliner, who is bringing her collection to London Fashion Week
She hates the “pretentious” side of fashion, in which certain designers call themselves “artists” and designers don’t count until they are endorsed by celebrities. That desire for recognition doesn’t come from the designers, she argues, when I suggest it was good that the Duchess of Cambridge wore Orla Kiely.
“Certain brands pack their front row with celebrities, who they pay to be there – that comes from PR.” She wants normal women to invest in her garments. “The Danielle Romeril woman is full in spirit, a relaxed person who doesn’t worry about her hair too much, or match her nails with her handbag.” She defends using size 8 models, because on a tall, slender shape you look at the clothes, not the body. She loves the relentless demand on creativity that goes into making two collections per year. “Some designers feel like it’s a treadmill. For me it’s really liberating.”
London Fashion Week will be a trial, but just as hard as the panel-grilling and the showcasing is defining an aesthetic and providing buyers with a niche for their store they can rely on.
Downtown, urban appeal
Her label changes dramatically with each season, though running through it you find a downtown, urban appeal, with loose silhouettes and unusually crafted pieces. In the autumn-winter collection there are luxurious silk pleats, trapped lace, plastic, lots of white with pops of pink, apple, peppermint.
She is having a fling with a lenticular print made of small, layered dots or “lenses” that plays with the eye in a 3D effect. She came across it at a market in Dublin 8, in a 1960s picture of a moon landing, and she immediately sourced fabric from Italy.
“Because of the different layers of images on the fabric, the images are distorted as they’re moved. You eyes go fuzzy from looking at them.”
Her work will be noticed among the 150 other edgy exhibitors at Somerset House. The lenticular print reminded her of school pencil cases, and Romeril is creating a nostalgic art installation to display it in. “It will be like stepping back into a teenage girl’s bedroom. There’ll be a lot of patterns and vinyl on the walls.”
To win NewGen, Romeril had to be based in the UK. While she says it’s really great being Irish there “at the moment”, with sensations like Rocha and Anderson coming up alongside her, she didn’t have much choice.
“Most of my graduate class in Limerick moved there straight away because there aren’t that many opportunities for people who do fashion in Ireland.”
However, in fashion, being Irish isn’t enough to make you interesting. “I don’t think anybody stands out in London. You feel like a newbie for a very, very long time. It’s never more apparent than when you arrive at fashion week, and go – oh right, yes, I’m no one.”