London Fashion Week: Simone Rocha looks to Connemara for inspiration

Young Irish designer sends out a sophisticated collection at London Fashion Week


in London

Yesterday belonged to Simone Rocha when the young Irish designer sent out a sophisticated and romantic spring collection inspired by the landscape of Connemara. Her feminine detailing and innovative use of pearl beading – a new take on bridal décor – not just on necklines but trimming hems, studding socks, knee highs and even encircling peekaboo skirt pockets, was chic yet girlishly sexy. Last season her use of pink was widely copied; this collection seems bound to have the same commercial power. Interest in her grows worldwide.

It takes skill to bring freshness to strapless black dresses in heavy silk but hers, spliced with low-rise ruffles or in silver and black printed plastic, were determinedly modern in spirit. She knows how to use hard fabrics in a sensuous way; there were cocoon coats in stiff see-through fabrics, in patent cotton embellished with rosettes or in moss green leather.

It looked light and luxurious, particularly dresses and trousers in gold cloque brocade or slim trouser suits in wet-look black lace. For her finale, some of the models, in playful white dresses, were veiled from head to toe in flesh-coloured tulle like virginal brides. Punkish green hair and flat Lucite brogues kept the look grounded in her signature streetwise way.

“I am so proud of her. She has her own voice and I respect that,” her father, John Rocha – who was accompanied by Ali Hewson – said backstage.

Earlier in the day, Anya Hindmarch staged an imaginative presentation of handbags at Central Hall Westminster in a room decked out like a planetarium. It was a novel way to highlight her lightweight collection of python and calf clutches, totes and duffel bags which floated mid-air on wire.

Elsewhere, Stella McCartney with similar aplomb unveiled her Adidas collection on underwater athletes. After days in which a constellation of stars shone in London, these were just some of the more outstanding shows that ended fashion week with a flourish.