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Friday, September 22, 2023

Carlow Nationalist — Simone Rocha has just been given a major fashion accolade

By Prudence Wade, PA

Simone Rocha has been named the next guest couture designer for French fashion house Jean Paul Gaultier.

The Dublin-born designer debuted her spring/summer collection at London Fashion Week over the weekend, and on Tuesday morning posted an image of a bouquet of flowers on her Instagram stories with a note from Gaultier reading: “Congratulations for your show!!! And see you, for the next one… in PARIS!!!”

It means she will show a one-off collection during Haute Couture Week in Paris in January 2024, fusing together her aesthetic with Gaultier’s.

Rocha will be the fifth guest couturier, following in the footsteps of designers Haider Ackermann and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain.

Couture is seen as the pinnacle of craftsmanship in fashion – garments are costlier and more extravagant, and tend to be handmade and one-off.

French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier – dubbed the ‘enfant terrible’ of the industry – began his career in the 1970s, making a name for himself with quirky designs. His signatures include corsetry, sailor-inspired stripes and cone bras – famously worn by Madonna on her Blond Ambition tour in 1990.

Jean Paul Gaultier
Jean Paul Gaultier is known as the ‘enfant terrible’ of fashion (Victoria Jones/PA)

Gaultier announced his retirement in 2020, and since then his couture shows have been replaced with a merry-go-round of guest designers, giving their own spin on his style.

It will be interesting to see how Rocha reinterprets Gaultier’s aesthetic, as her style is remarkably different. She’s known for ethereal outfits – lots of voluminous tulle dresses, floral details, lace and pearls.

Her recent London Fashion Week collection experimented with some edgier elements – such as silver leather trousers and biker jackets – so perhaps she will bring more of this to Haute Couture Week.

This won’t be the first time Rocha has collaborated with another brand. In 2021 she created the Simone Rocha x H&M capsule collection, and at her recent London Fashion Week show she debuted a collaboration with divisive shoe brand Crocs.

Celebrities including singer FKA Twigs, actor Keira Knightley and Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan have worn Rocha’s designs in the past, so she might draw a star-studded front row for her show in Paris.

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