For her Paris debut, Irish designer Róisín Pierce layered her exploration of her homeland’s handcrafts and her smocking techniques with an emotional response to Sylvia Plath’s poem “Lady Lazarus.”
Pierce is particularly interested in the cultural significance of the crafts that have been passed down through the generations, particularly their feminist backstory, and in breathing new life into them through a contemporary wardrobe.
Now in her fourth collection, the Dublin-based designer once more delved into her homeland’s difficult relationship with femininity, in particular “the fear of women and lengths [taken] to silence them,” she told WWD in a preview.
Par for the course was her zero-waste smocking technique that turned swathes of fabric into crinkled, ruched or twisted volumes that curved around the body without constraining it. Lace was also front and center, a reminder that this craft was once a major source of income for Ireland and helped it overcome the 19th-century famine.
Traditional Irish crochet layered with organza brought transparency, a new development of the season. It added sensual undertones to her silhouettes, hinting at the bodies beneath layers of delicate crochet or floral embroideries.
Among the standouts were a slipdress in cascading gathers that ended in filmy scalloped cascades; bubble bloomer shorts paired with long-sleeved blouses; boxy transparent tops with strategically placed cascades of floral motifs, and a T-shirt and handkerchief-hemmed skirt that could have been basic but for whorls of fabric that distorted their surface.
Despite a profusion of floaty veils and Pierce’s all-white palette, they felt breezy rather than haunting, in a lineup that was like the women who inspired it: graceful and unabashed.