Irish designers help wrap up fashion week

The final day at London Fashion Week wrapped with two familiar Irish names on schedule.

Respect Your Elders was the title of Dublin designer Simone Rocha’s sixth collection. Inspired by the sartorial prowess of her two grandmothers, Margaret Gleeson and Cecelia Rocha, the 26-year old took to reinterpreting their trousseau with her signature, subversive edge.

Prim twin sets, car coats, tweed LBDs, and ascetic shifts were translated with a Dalston edge — faux fur, mohair, tortoiseshell and patent leather offset by “Pepto-Bismol pink” and “hatchling yellow”.

Styled with eccentric granny bags and chunky velvet loafers, the collection will no doubt resonate with fans like Alexa Chung and Saoirse Ronan.

Indeed Rocha’s unique storytelling ability has cemented her industry credibility and reputation as a modern clothes whisperer.

Tuesday’s Twitter feed read like a high five of the fashion elite. “You know a show is a winner when you want almost every look,” said Elle UK fashion director Anne-Marie Curtis. Sums it up really.

From nu-heritage to Hitchcock heroines, Paul Costelloe staged his womenswear catwalk comeback at Somerset House after a two-season hiatus.

The designer personally addressed the audience in the intimate Portico Rooms before commencing the 30-look presentation which combined voluminous cocoon shapes with sharp tailoring, reminiscent of ’50s screen sirens.

A palette of light butterscotch, aquamarine, powder pink, marmalade, and seal grey softened the edges of signature tailoring with outerwear firmly leading the charge.

“I wanted to return with a collection that is chic, understated, and alive with realism,” said Costelloe, who also took the opportunity to showcase his price-worthy menswear and dressage lines.

Designers Anya Hindmarch and Roksanda Ilincic also made top billing, and rightly so. Hindmarch — fashion’s ultimate bag lady — took a novel approach to showcasing her autumn/winter ’13 arm candy.

Hidden under a set made of 50,000 dominoes lay her 20-piece luxury handbag collection — a creation which took 200 hours to construct by 12 domino experts and less than two minutes to collapse to reveal a selection of coveted colour-blocked, sporting, handmade Georgiana tassel — each taking eight hours to create.

The domino effect continued as fans were bowled over by celebrity stalwart Roksanda Ilincic and her dark exploration of “haunted girls and virginal brides”. Much like Erdem, Ilincic’s frock broker reputation found expression in uncharacteristic fabrics (think fur, treated lace, PVC, and neoprene), challenging her trademark use of crepe. That said, the collection, punctuated by pink and aquamarine, demonstrated an unseasonal, albeit on-brand ebullience.

If fashion can capture a mood, what better note on which to end?

In brief

*The Designers: Simone Rocha, Paul Costelloe, Anya Hindmarch, Roksanda Ilincic.

* The Muse: Grandmothers, dressage, dominos, springtime, haunted girls, and virginal brides.

* The Shape: drop waists and apron-fronts, cocoon shapes, hip bustles, sharp tailoring; ’50s and ’60s silhouettes.

* The Colours: ‘Pepto-Bismol pink’, ‘hatchling yellow’, sugary pastels, burgundy, orange, nude, and cream.

* The Details: leopard print, veils, granny bags, outsize loafers, tippets.

* The Fabrics: crochet, fur, velvet, tweed, patent leather, treated lace, PVC, neoprene, tortoiseshell, mohair

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