Gathercole’s dark designs

Rocky Gathercole’s showgirls-inspired collection. Photos by Elton Lugay

By Elton Lugay

While Monique Lhuillier‘s classic elegance dazzled at the New York Fashion Week’s Lincoln Center, Dubai-based designer Rocky Gathercole held his own in Brooklyn. Many described his collection as anything from outrageously eclectic to stunning. Edgy is probably the best word to use for now.

His outfits were lavish. There were gowns intricately fashioned out of real metal, with flashes of feathers and sprinkled with crystals. When put together to clothe a towering model, it’s like “moving art on the runway,” according to a fan.

Gathercole is not bashful to admit his 2011 collection was inspired by the life and the look of showgirls.

“He was very inspired by the lights, the glitz, the glamour, feathers, and the costumes of showgirl performances,” according to Haute Living.

There was a model wearing a ram head, another dressed in a chain link like a warrior goddess. The outfits resembled a costume collection for stage or period films. Obviously not standard haute couture. Avant-garde Gaga, maybe?

“I design according to my mood. When I am happy, I’m inspired to create a dark-themed collection,” Gathercole told The FilAm backstage after the show. “My emotion is opposite to my creativity. When I’m happy, it’s weird, when I’m sad, it’s colorful, flamboyant. I’m more of an artist than a fashion designer. I do art out of the torso of a woman.”

“I’m not sure if it’s saleable or wearable, but what is vital to me is that I’m able to express myself through my work. This is actually me,” he continued.

“Admittedly, those things are not really wearable, but it shows you the creativity, and the expansiveness of his vision,” said Mari Babao, an employee of Green Circle Media Promotions in Manhattan who watched the show in Brooklyn.

Michelle Grafe, a teller from Elmhurst, said: “I think it just shows that deep inside, we have this designer who is naturally very edgy.”

“When he is at his least guarded moments, he comes up with very dark designs that I think were really very eye-catching. You could see from the reaction of the crowd how respectful they were of his works.”

Gathercole has been a designer in the United Arab Emirates for more than two decades. He got invited to showcase his collection in New York through Facebook after his participation in the International Miami Fashion Week in March. Fashion critics found his Miami collection “astonishing, a sight for sore eyes.”

Born and raised in Pasay City, Rocky credits friend Vicente Arcaina for initiating him into the Middle East fashion world. He tested the waters in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before moving to Dubai in 1992. He designed for Calash Haute Couture before finally going solo.

Elton Lugay is a journalist, publicist and community events organizer.


  1. Carlos acuesta wrote:

    Very well said! 🙂 RG really rocks NYC

  2. Val H. wrote:

    This is wonderful, as your other articles.

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