John Rocha has been at the top for 30 years and his Mayfair boutique is testament to a glittering fashion career
A long and illustrious career has befallen John Rocha and his ﬂagship boutique on Dover Street in Mayfair is an enviable address. It would seem a long way away from his beginnings, having studied at the Croydon School of Art. Known predominantly for his hand-crafting, beading and appliqué to garments, Rocha started out in Dublin with his Chinatown label in the 1980s. He then went on to design clothes for men and women in high street store A Wear and luxury store Brown Thomas. By 1993 he had been named Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards and now runs his own John Rocha label, with John Rocha Jeans, John Rocha Jewellery and Rocha by John Rocha alongside collections of clothing, homewear and accessories for Debenhams. He always showcases at London Fashion Weeks in February and September and in 2002 he was made a CBE.
Here he answers some questions for The Resident about his life and illustrious career
What does Mayfair mean to you?
Mayfair is like the very best village in a city – ﬁlled with beautiful shops, wonderful restaurants and the amazing galleries. It is a home away from home for me.
Who was your first muse or mentor?
My ﬁrst mentor was my grandmother – she inspired me to follow my dreams, and helped me make the move to the UK from Hong Kong as a young man. She is long gone now but her spirit still inspires me.
Who is the person you design for?
I don’t have a speciﬁc individual in mind when I design but I know she is a conﬁdent woman who has a real sense of self, a distinct point of view and who is comfortable with her sense of style.
Do you have a favourite design you have created?
Difﬁcult question – I work in so many different mediums. In fashion perhaps the pink picot lace dress from my Spring/Summer 2013 collection or the sculptural crochet white dress for Spring/Summer 2010. In other areas, my Black Cut Crystal for Waterford Crystal is a particular high point.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Find what you have to say and then follow your dream with all your heart.
If it is possible, who is your favourite designer?
Alexander McQueen, without a doubt.
How did it feel to receive a CBE for fashion services?
Receiving the CBE was such an honour; it was wonderful, as was the ceremony itself, which was daunting, but truly wonderful!
Who would you like to see, dead or alive, wearing John Rocha?
I have always loved seeing my wife and daughter wearing my clothes. I really don’t know who else I might like to dress… Elizabeth I?
What does London mean to you compared with other fashion cities?
I love the fact that London is, and has always been a wonderful place for creativity, and a really supportive platform for new design. It makes it such an exciting place to work. I don’t think we need to draw comparisons between the fashion capitals of the world, they each offer something different, and each has its relevant place in our industry.
15A Dover Street, W1S 4LR; johnrocha.ie