Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rocky Gathercole – The Avant Garde Knight Returns!

Written by Sheila Vertuno for F Magazine, Oct/Nov Issue

Scottsdale, AZ - By invitation, Rocky Gathercole returned to the desert and resided unnoticed in the V.I.P. section all 3 nights of Phoenix Fashion Week.  Incognito to most, I’d smile at him across the runway, while his name was thunderously announced every night, building the anticipation as the closing designer of the event. 

On the last night, I watched proud, front and center, as Rocky Gathercole’s “Celebration of Colours” collection hit the catwalk during Phoenix Fashion Week grand finale at Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale Arizona on October 4th 2014. 

The 25-year anniversary collection was a reflection of the dark, colorful, playful and glamorous phases of Rocky’s personal and professional life. Like always, he pushed every boundary to deliver his own cutting edge unapologetic designs.  He used industrial metal and colorful loom bands for that innovative look and combined them with fringe beads, pearls and Swarovski for a feminine touch. I said it before and I will say it again… it was dashingly ferocious!

Photo by Desert Rh1no Photography

Photo by Desert Rh1no Photography

Photo by Desert Rh1no Photography

Photo by Desert Rh1no Photography

Click here for more Rocky Gathercole photos by Desert Rh1no Photography.

Many described it as a jaw-dropping collection, and I couldn’t agree more.  It was bold, entertaining and glamorous, all at the same time.  While tyro fashionistas may find his creations overwhelming, Rocky Gathercole Atelier is internationally acclaimed and a go to for Hollywood A-listers, the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez …too many to list. 

When I asked him to describe his fashion designs, Rocky told me, “I’m a scene stealer and I want to leave a mark. I’d rather be flamboyant than boring.”  In a league of his own, Rocky said, “Women’s fashion is boundless! However, most people only see what they want to see.  My creations are not for everyone, especially not for the ‘boxed’ mind.' It captivates those with inquisitive and artful taste.”  Very Gathercole, I say!

The “Avant Garde Knight” is the title that I coined for Rocky Gathercole when I first saw his AH-MAH-ZING collection last year.  No hiding behind the shining armor, Rocky is shy, soft-spoken, selfless and wears his emotions on his sleeve… so authentic!  His humble beginnings keep him grounded and grateful for his achievements. I asked if he dreamt of making it this far, and recollecting his younger years, he said, “Kapag nasa kalye ka, wala kang pangarap. Ang nasa isip mo lang ay kaligtasan ng buhay.” (Translation: When you live in the streets you have no dream.  Your only focus is survival.)  He is slow to claim what he has now as success for “success has a different meaning to everyone,” he said. 

Comforted by vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake, we laughed and cried as we shared each other’s life stories.  I will never forget his words, “Yung ngang wala puede, yun pang meron!” (Translation: If one could make it with not having anything, one could certainly make it with a little bit more.) Truly inspiring!

On a lighter note, here’s a quick Q&A with Rocky:
  • Who is your fashion icon(s)? Thierry Mugler, Bob Mackie, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen
  • If you could talk to anyone, past or present, who would it be?  Princess Diana
  • Who would you like to dress that you haven’t yet?  Barbara Streisand
  • Who is your favorite science fiction character? Mystique
  • Daytime or nighttime? I am an early bird
  • Coffee or tea? Tea

From London Fashion Week, Phoenix Fashion Week, and recent Los Angeles photo shoots with For the Stars Fashion House, Rocky jets back to Manila for Halloween by Rocky Gathercole at Solaire Grand Ballroom on October 31st, 2014.  Next month, Rocky will support the Filipino Designers Association of the Philippines (FDAP) fashion show scheduled on November 26th , 2014 while he prepares as the official designer of Julie Anne San Jose for her Hologram Concert at the MOA Arena on December 13th 2014.

Mabuhay ka, Rocky Gathercole.  You are blessed with a genuine heart and incredible talent.  You are absolutely one of a kind!  My love and respect to you always!


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