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Danielle Romeril has had one hell of a year, but she has certainly earned it. After showcasing her SS14 collection at Somerset House in last September, Romeril was picked up by the British Fashion Council's NEWGEN project and her brand has gone from strength to strength. She follows in the giant footsteps of designers Christopher Kane, Erdem and Alexander McQueen. If Romeril can recreate half of their luck she has a bright future ahead of her.
NEWGEN was set up in 1993 by the BFC to showcase and promote new designers, financially assisting them and providing them with a space to either present their collections or to show them. Topshop became the principal sponsor in 2001, which provided an even bigger platform for the designers, and Romeril has most definitely been seen this year.
After studying for a Masters at the Royal College of Art in London, from her graduate show she was chosen to work at the Alberta Ferretti studio in Italy. It was only in September of 2012 that she launched her namesake label, producing a collection exhibited at Somerset House which was warmly received by the industry. Her collection took regular garments such as the humble t-shirt and transformed them with leather detailing and, for this season, strategically-placed pockets.
This February sees Danielle produce her fourth collection, which is as original and unique as the last. We caught up with Romeril in her NEWGEN pop-up showroom at Somerset House. Her collection was largely monochrome with splashes of colour in tones of green and blue. There were cacti adorning the floors and tables, mirroring her AW14 look book. When we asked Romeril about photographing the collection she said they returned to teenage years of exploring the world from one's bedroom. This made a perfect setting for her clothes, which are youthful while allowing the wearer's personality to shine through.
The inspiration behind Romeril's collection was a lenticular print of a 1960's moon-landing scene. She said she "wanted to play with optical illusion, with the visual distortion of what you usually see." This technique creates a print illusion as it moves and changes when it is viewed from different angles. It is almost a hologram but in two dimensions rather than three. Through using this visual technique and a spotty design, she has transformed the simple, clear plastic mac from being plain to a one-off piece.
Another detail that caught our attention, which Romeril was keen to point out, was the experimental use of pockets by placing them in subtle yet useful places. Her mac had four pockets rather than two, and her dresses included slouchy, giant pockets (perfect if you're the kind of person who insists on not using a bag!). The pocket edges were all lined with plastic lenticular printed fabric, contrasting the elegant pieces with details that would normally be out of place. Yet Romeril manages to make this out-of-place look seem just right.
Romeril has come a long way from her studies in Dublin, but she is keen to point out that it has not all been a walk in the park. Modest down to her very core, this is a lady whose definitely on the up. So what's her advice for new designers? "Work hard and then work harder." And with that Romeril was off organising the racks of clothing to make sure they were all lined up. Nothing out of place but everything shaken up.