Wauchob’s collection sexy, strong and mostly in black at Paris Fashion Week

Irish designer delivers stellar collection with rock-chick attitude and appeal

A model shows a creation by Irish designer Sharon Wauchob as part of her new women’s collection, shown in Paris yesterday. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

A model shows a creation by Irish designer Sharon Wauchob as part of her new women’s collection, shown in Paris yesterday. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 10:14

On the second day of Paris Fashion Week, Sharon Wauchob, the only Irish designer on the Paris catwalks, sent out a stellar collection yesterday in the ornate 19th-century surroundings of the Westin Hotel ballroom.

Her show drew references from the same period but in a modern way, with an emphasis on surface texture and decoration.

“I started with the idea of military uniforms, then introduced femininity and had a bit of fun,” she said afterwards, accompanied by her children, Erin and Thea.

Sexy, strong and mostly in black, the collection was notable for its elaborate handwork and fabrics mixing handsome coats embellished with braiding and rich embroideries with the sheerest of lingerie dresses in lace, satin and silk.

Wauchob remains consistent as a designer, but this, as she said, was a step further – more confident, more relaxed but losing nothing of her rock-chick attitude and appeal.

It showed, for instance, in snake-hipped trousers worn with a sheer blouse, its sleeves traced with delicate beading, or in a long cashmere knit over an appliqued skirt with a peep show of net stocking underneath.

If the coats encrusted with black jet were standout pieces, so were her creations in lace from jewelled and feathered tunics to dresses flecked with red metallic threads. In May, some of this collection will be shown at the Limerick School of Art and Design’s Milk Market as part of the college’s contribution to Limerick City of Culture.

Equally dark, but less romantic, was the collection presented under Ann Demeulemeester’s name at an old convent. The Belgian designer resigned from the label she founded more than 20 years ago claiming that the brand could survive without her.

The show yesterday, under a new creative team, maintained her dark, androgynous aesthetic using pale-faced, barely distinguishable male and female models.

In this sombre line-up, dresses were long and draped, jackets were elaborately tied and coats occasionally looked like decadent academic gowns, never mind the gold shoes and silver bracelets.