Sharon Wauchob should be a household name. She's Irish, she's a successful working mother and she's a globally recognised fashion designer. Yet in Ireland, her light has remained firmly under a bushel. Despite a career that has included a stint at Louis Vuitton and the prestige of being one of the very few British or Irish designers to show her own label on the official Paris fashion week calendar (which she did for 13 years before moving to London in 2016), Wauchob is better known on the streets of Paris and London than she is here. Not having a stockist in Ireland is, perhaps, the reason why.
Hopefully this anonymity will soon disappear as rumour has it she's planning to launch an affordable capsule collection to sit alongside her couture-style creations. Stockist or no, women will try a new designer from an online store more readily if the price is right. Here's hoping this puts her firmly on the radar of Irish women, because truly, her pieces are what most of us dream about wearing - I've no doubt a diffusion range will also offer the Wauchob brand's distinct USP; beautiful fabrics, interesting shapes and gorgeous textures - be it a hand-painted diaphanous dress that represents the "extremes of obvious ... femininity" or the masculine coats cut in heavy lacquered wool silk that offer a tougher and stronger perspective.
Sharon Wauchob AW18
Sharon Wauchob AW18
Her AW18 presentation at London Fashion Week this week, which I was lucky enough to attend, was an understated and refined affair in the midst of the performance and showmanship that is fashion week. Because of this, I was able to grab a couple of minutes with the designer, who when she heard I was from IMAGE Magazine, recounted nostalgically how she had grown up reading the magazine. Wauchob explained that her clothes have never been designed for women of any particular age group or country, but for those with "a certain attitude". She describes her AW18 collection as "seasonless", reflecting "the way women dress now". And certainly there seems to be a progression through the collection from those feather-light, fluid, sheer dresses in powdery shades perfect for summer evenings to crisp, clean-lined suiting in sober neutrals ideal for colder, darker days.
Both Wauchob and her collection were a pleasure to be around. She's a designer we should be shouting about because there's plenty more to come from this talented Irishwoman. Watch this space.
Fashion director Marie Kelly with designer Sharon Wauchob at her LFW AW18 presentation.