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Stitch:the Hand
Scott's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Among the trees
Gender: homme
Posts: 12,878
John Rocha Retires after 29 years
JOHN ROCHA has retired from London Fashion Week, the designer has confirmed to Vogue.

The news will come as a surprise to many, who consider Rocha to be producing his best work to date. For the designer himself, however, that makes it the perfect time to retire from his eponymous brand.

"If I stay, I want to have something to say and I always want to keep the standard high. The last couple of collections I looked back on and I thought to myself, 'that is really the best work I can do'," said Rocha contentedly. "For the last few years I can see lots of talented people and designers coming up and with so much young talent you have to work so much harder, and I'm not going to do it until I drop!"

It was in 1985 that Rocha first took to the London Fashion Week schedule, and in the 29 years that have followed he has accomplished worldwide fame thanks to his collections that bridge the gap between ready-to-wear and haute couture, not to mention raise a family with his wife and business partner Odette. From the sleek, diaphanous lines of the Nineties to the voluminous silhouettes and signature froufrou head pieces of late, Rocha's talent for creating timeless designs while remaining current at the forefront of the industry is what has won him countless accolades, including Designer of the Year at the 1993 British Fashion Awards and a CBE in 2002 for his contribution to the fashion industry.

So why after such an illustrious history is he stopping? "People ask me why, and it's because I want to do more with my time. I left Hong Kong in 1971 and I have never been back to spend Chinese New Year with my family because it always falls in February during the shows. In 40 years I have never taken more than ten days holiday at once. At this point in my life I want to live by my calendar and not the Fashion Week calendar. Stopping allows me to do that. It's not an overnight decision, Odette and I have been talking about it for some time."

In similar situations, the creative director baton is passed to a new designer, but having been so hands on with every element of his collections for so long, it isn't something Rocha wants to do.

"I can tell you every element of every single look from each collection - one to 30 - without looking at a picture - my label is all done by me. When I stop nobody could take over - I've made that decision."

Bringing the main line to an end does not, however, mean redundancies are on the cards for anyone that currently works for Rocha. "As we focus more of the licensing parts of the business on the high street, the design team in Dublin will be redistributed," he said. "It's important for me to restructure the office so that everyone still has a job and be able to tell everyone what they will be doing in five years - in ten years even!"

So what is next for the man himself? "I want to explore my design philosophy in different mediums, and I'm very interested in architecture," he says, referring to his recent involvement in Château La Coste, the hotel-meets-art project in the sweeping, lavender-rich hills of En Provence that brings art, architecture and land together. That and lots of fishing trips we are assured.

But while his name will no longer appear on the schedule, the Rocha legacy lives on through his daughter Simone, who was herself awarded emerging womenswear designer of the year at the 2013 British Fashion Awards. It means that for those that will be sad at the thought of not seeing Rocha in the Somerset House tents, they won't be too disappointed as he'll be there, sat on the front row as a proud father.

"Simone can continue the family tradition in fashion," he smiled. "In the last couple of collections people finally understand what I'm about and I've achieved more than I ever thought. But for now I'm embracing the future. It's time to move on."

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Psylocke's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Aww, that's too bad. Another great designer stepping down. He always presented his designs in such a charming, whimsical, fun way, I always looked forward to his shows. (I always saw him as the Yohji of London, tbh ) But I agree that this is a good time for him to do it, he does seem to have reached the peak rather recently in terms of success and creativity, despite having been around for a very long time.

I actually felt that Simone was a little overhyped in the beginning, but she's been showing a lot of potential lately, and I am starting to see some of that same magic in her collections. He must be very proud of her and I'm sure it helped him make that decision, too.

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Stitch:the Hand
Scott's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Among the trees
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i love his reasons and i appreciate that like another deeply admired independent in ann demeulemeester,he is moving on,on his own terms. and yeah his daughter i feel will carry on a certain semblance of his spirit,particularly his use of textiles and fabrication. she's showing a lot of improvement and continuity in her young career.

Last edited by Scott; 09-05-2014 at 03:47 PM.
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flaunt the imperfection..
softgrey's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: downtown...
Gender: femme
Posts: 50,638
aww...good for him...
i'm a longtime fan of his work and it is definitely cool to see his daughter's work, as well...

i wish him all the best...

"It is not money that makes you well dressed: it is understanding."

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