Some fashion outsiders may only attribute this name to clothing, home and accessories collections that fill the UK’s chain department store, Debenhams. But he is more than just high street. Every year,Fashion Designer John Rocha’s refreshingly clean cut creations grace the catwalks of fashion shows all over the world.
His unique pieces have always stemmed from his appreciation of different cultures and environments, especially those of his own background. Born in Hong Kong, and of Chinese and Portuguese descent, Rocha studied at Croydon School of Art, London. In his graduation show he was so inspired by the nature of the Irish fabric – he decided to move to the country, where he and his wife worked on expanding his projects. He created a name for himself with his Chinatown label which explored his well-known beading and appliqué hand-crafted projects. Irish retailers began to stock his designs in their luxury stores. By 1993, he was awarded Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.
Rocha continues to reside in Ireland with his wife of 25 years, Odette Gleeson and their 2 children Simone 25, and Max, 20. Rocha has older daughter Zoe 27, from a previous marriage. Simone Rocha is hot on her father’s heels, in terms of becoming a successful designer. Her designs are somewhat edgier and more youthful than her father’s; and already she too has acquired a number of prestigious stockists around the world.
Now aged 58, Rocha has four successful brands that houses all of his designs; John Rocha, John Rocha Jeans, Rocha John Rocha and John Rocha Jewellery. Remarkably Rocha’s talents were solicited for the interior of Morrison Hotel in Dublin and the Orion building in Birmingham.
His signature work is grounded by a palette of black, white and cream finished with traditional hand-stitched embroidery. Rocha believes the quality of fabric is the foundation for any design, and the excellence of natural fabric is far superior to that of synthetic. True to his word, he embodies his pieces with lavish silks and rich cashmeres, lace and linen producing a refined, minimal yet a full-of-character style which has earned him an established recognition in the fashion world.
Rocha’s SS13 collection is a shock interlude away from the prominent black palette that has always ruled his catwalk. It’s evident that his ensembles are impressively eye-catching and cleverly feminised by feather-light ruffles and smooth pastel shades. Though Rocha’s designs have always been admired and well-loved, his surprisingly vivid creations have got everyone talking again. Inspirations for the latest launch were sourced from Southern France and his desire to base it around the ever changing beauty of nature. It was pleasing for the eye to see a harmonious incorporation of romantic, gothic-tinged black pieces amidst the buttercups yellows and bodacious reds. But don’t let the sudden bursts of softer shades distract you; the edgy skirts and boxy jackets have led me to believe that Rocha wanted to achieve a dramatic mix of fierceness and serenity.
To see more of John Rocha’s work, visit his official site here.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.com
Written by Naomi Muhammad