Catwalks unleash a perfect storm

IT WAS a soft atmosphere at the cobbles this weekend — in weather thankfully; not fashion. As the rain threatened, the catwalks unleashed their own perfect storm of style for spring/summer 12.

Zoe Jordan’s 30s-inspired homage to society girl Edith Bouvier Beale proved deliciously eccentric in its subtle interwar references: think smoking clubs and martinis, picnics and cricket games, and garments named ‘Chatsworth’ and ‘Blenheim’.

Cashmere cricket knits slung over diaphanous dresses, smoking jackets paired with fluid maxis, headscarves and Hardwick tweed — all spoke of polished ease.

Season-expectant silks, chiffon and lace found uncommon friends in tweed and butter soft suede; with sequins and cut-out details adding feminine frisson.

As for colours, complexion-perfect tones such as ginger, rose gold, silver and olive spelt utter radiance — a total boon for Irish skin.

High society received another runway reveal at Jaeger — this time with the jet set of the late 60s/early 70s. Reworked vintage Jaeger sunglasses, wide-brim lacquered colonial hats, binocular case bags and vertiginous espadrilles spoke of far-flung destinations like Mustique; while spicy tones and summer tweed reworked traditional expectations of the season.

As for trends spotted, think sheer overlays on everything from skirts to shorts and trousers.

John Rocha stayed true to his endearing love of texture, structure and form with a breathtaking collection — high on craftsmanship and eclectic references. A trip to the Amazon underscored the romantic runway edit, where our Irish-adopted son saw Indians using raw materials like leaves and wood bark to make clothes. “I thought it would be great to do something organic,” tells Rocha, “something that is really close to what I believe in and will hopefully make people more aware of the Amazon.”

Hand-tucked raffia and leather ruffles covered shoes and hemlines; while patchwork crochet married itself with softly pleated asymmetry in elongated skirts and trousers. Wire headpieces made evanescent the hauntingly monochrome cavalcade — yet another big win for Irish in the high-fashion stakes.

Clearly this talent gene runs in the family, as daughter Simone Rocha unveiled her third collection to a packed salon audience at Portland Place. Irish model Danielle Winkworth opened the show — a collection of 20 looks anchored in black and white with shots of hot green and pink. A mistress of fabric manipulation, Ms Rocha played with sheer panelling and overlays on classic shirt fronts, adding plastic collars and treated lace skirts — challenging the traditional masculine/feminine interplay. Her signature perspex-heeled floating brogues — this time in summer leather and plastic — made many of us write our Santa lists that little bit earlier this year. One to watch without doubt.

As for the celebrity headcount, the hotspot had to be the Topshop Unique show where Anna Wintour’s bob and Naomi Campbell both made an appearance amongst a gaggle of familiar front-row faces.

But the real award goes to our own designers. The future of Irish fashion shines brightly; and deservedly so.

Picture: An Issa headpiece

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