Rocha also fashions peace


JOHN BRUTON and John Major weren't the only men yesterday doing their bit to secure love, peace and understanding between the two nations. Over in South Kensington, the Irish based fashion designer, John Rocha, presented his collection for next autumn/winter entitled Love Comes To Town, and sent his models down the ramp wearing white ribbons pinned to their lapels.

It has been two years since Mr Rocha last showed at London Fashion Week. Since then, the former winner of the British Fashion Designer of the Year Award has given Paris the opportunity to see each collection first. Now, however, as if to underline the importance of strong Anglo Irish associations, he has decided to return to London, which, in turn, gave him a rapturous reception yesterday afternoon.

It was immediately obvious from the scores of fashion students struggling to get in to the show that his was going to be the week's hot ticket. Inside the hall, the upbeat mood was enhanced by the presence of so many of the designer's admirers who travelled from Ireland.

Seated in the front row was Dalkey resident and singer Lisa Stansfield, director Mary McGuckian (whose next film, This Is The Sea, has costumes designed by John Rocha) and singer Brian Kennedy. Fellow designer and close friend Michael Mortell was also present, along with photographer Pery Ogden and musician Simon Le Bon.

The wife of Simon, Yasmin Le Bon, was one of the first models to appear on the ramp to the strains of a song called, appropriately enough, Peace and Love. Both these feelings were evoked in the capacity crowd as a succession of dresses and trouser suits in organdie, velvet and jersey came out.

But what the ranks of photographers really loved was the unexpected sight of guest model Patsey Kensit. Although the music of Oasis was heard on the sound track, the band's guitarist and Ms Kensit's current escort, Liam Gallagher, was not to be seen.

Back stage afterwards, the diminutive actress explained she had become friendly with John Rocha through her sometime neighbours in Dalkey, Bono and Ali Hewson. This was only her second appearance in a fashion show, having modelled once before for Vivienne Westwood.

So would she think of doing it again? "Are you kidding? I'm so small and fat compared to all these other girls."

Just in case anyone might, imagine she was out of step with the mood of the moment, she added "But I love John Rocha."