Simone Rocha’s new menswear collection: white lace, sheer fabrics and pearled trims

Deirdre McQuillan: ‘It’s about breaking down the historical narrative of masculinity’ says Irish designer

Simone Rocha will be making a special appearance next week at an invite-only event in Nikki Creedon’s Donnybrook boutique Havana, which will be entirely turned over to the Irish designer’s autumn winter collections which include womenswear and menswear. It will be the first time that Creedon has introduced menswear; she reckons there has been huge interest “from the more avant-garde guys looking at Simone, who may have bought some of her jewellery already”.

November is traditionally when Creedon likes to introduce some novelty and innovation to the boutique. As the sole stockist of Rocha in Ireland, her record of introducing androgynous clothing over the years from brands like Ann de Meulemeester, Haider Ackerman and Rick Owens speaks for itself.

“Simone’s menswear is so beautifully made and beaded that I am really proud to sell it,” she says, pointing out a topcoat in Linton tweed (a fabric much favoured by Simone’s father John Rocha) worn by Perry Ogden at Simone’s A/W show in the Old Bailey last February, men’s suiting embellished with crystal, lace shirts, leather coats and workwear trousers as well as accessories, wallet chains and earrings. “I have gone all out for more of the showstoppers as opposed to the plain,” says Creedon, who will mark 30 years in business in 2024.

For Rocha, launching menswear was a necessary challenge in her development as a designer, and a natural progression, since men were already buying womenswear, she says. In her show, glittering tweed greatcoats and balloon-sleeved jackets for men set off against twinkling shoulder shawls and pearled trims, displaying her skilful subversion of traditional notions of masculine and feminine attire – masculine fragility, feminine power.


For both she used white lace and sheer fabrics with macramé for additional textural drama. “It was about breaking down the historical narrative of masculinity,” she says. “I have always been interested in the contrast between men and women, and it’s something that has always influenced me.”

Jewelled decor for men is nothing new – in the 16th century portraits of grandees showed them with lace ruffs, slashed sleeves, embroidery and other surface ornamentation, so why not more decorative menswear now?

Some guys have been fearless – Paul Mescal was photographed for the cover of this magazine back in March in a Rocha jacket with scalloped daisy turbo embellishment, which he also wore at a red carpet event in Los Angeles, and elsewhere pearl necklaces in particular have become a trend sported by celebrities from Harry Styles and Elton John to Lewis Hamilton, Pharrell Williams and even Love Island contestants.

Rocha’s menswear, however, is luxurious and comes with price tags to match, so it will take not only the more daring and deep pocketed to wear it, but those prepared to make a sartorial statement with confidence and bravado, whatever the cost.