Irish designers wow on London catwalk

Simone Rocha was one of a number of Irish designers showcasing their latest collections at London Fashion Week over the weekend.

Irish designers wow on London catwalk

Rocha took inspiration from French-American artist and sculptor, Louise Bourgeois, for her collection which was unveiled on Saturday night.

Commenting on the Autumn/Winter collection, Vogue said that while in previous collections, it had been relatively easy to trace Ms Rocha’s childhood in Ireland or her father’s Asian background, “for the Autumn/Winter 2015 season, the clothes seemed less innocent; more historical and religious”.

The strong Irish contingent at the event also included the likes of Orla Kiely and Paul Costelloe.

Many of the world’s leading designers took to the stage at London Fashion Week to showcase modern elegance and design, amid hopes the next generation of online shoppers would help boost sales in coming years.

Designer Jasper Conran filled the catwalk with leaves to create an autumnal mood. Models wore cashmere dresses and tunics, paired silk shirts and printed skirts, which were inspired by prints by Japanese artist Kunisada, in rich tones of aubergine, moss green, plum and chocolate.

Conran, whose privately listed business empire also encompasses designing furniture, homeware and collections for Britain’s leading department store Debenhams, said 20% of his sales came from his online business and he expected his company’s growth to be driven by the internet and use of technology.

“Given that the whole world is online and the global reach that gives you, it’s phenomenally important [to have a presence online]. We sell in 85 different countries, it’s an important part of business,” Conran said.

With online sales of clothing and footwear expected to grow to more than €25bn in the next four years, some designers are relying solely on the use of social media to help develop.

“For me, it’s a huge part of what I do. For someone who can’t afford to advertise and afford traditional mediums to communicate to your consumer, then social media is a huge part of that,” designer Henry Holland said.

“It has definitely helped me and my business, definitely enabled me to reach out to a wider audience, grow my business on a global scale.”

Holland, who founded his label House of Holland seven years ago, said that he looked to futuristic films such as The Fifth Element and Blade Runner for inspiration for his latest collection which featured striped sheepskin coats, patterned trousers, and high-waisted mini skirts.

Designer Julien Macdonald showcased glamorous gothic-inspired evening dresses with lace and metallic detailing in shades of black, blood red, and emerald green, while brightly coloured latex dresses with furry trims and over-sized knitted cardigans were seen at design trio Sibling.

London Fashion Week, which attracts more than 5,000 industry buyers, journalists, and bloggers to the English capital, finishes up tomorrow.

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