In an effort to promote Irish designers, today I present you with Rory Parnell-Mooney. A menswear designer, from Galway, Parnell-Mooney achieved a BA in fashion design from Central Saint Martins in London - where he moved when he was 18-years-old. He subsequently acquired an MA in menswear before catching the eye of the international fashion press with his ecclesiastical-inspired graduate collection. Back in January, at London Collections Men, Parnell-Mooney presented as part of MAN, the Fashion East and Topman incubator. He was sandwiched between Grace Wales Bonner and Charles Jeffrey, and was in his third season in selection. Unlike Wales Bonner before him and Jeffrey afterwards, Parnell-Mooney kept things sober, with a minimal colour palette.
He was thinking about the 90s, his youth, attending a Catholic school in Ireland and how that shapes his work. “Repent” was printed on one jacket. The Catholic church has had a heavy hand in Irish society throughout history. The 1937 constitution acknowledged the “special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church.” Divorce was banned in Ireland until a referendum amended that foolish aspect to the constitution. Films and books were banned or censored; Irish television network RTÉ had a church member seated on every panel. Still in 2016, there is some influence. It’s certainly not as strong, but it’s felt. As an Irish person you either accept that or voice your dissatisfaction. Parnell-Mooney didn’t make that decision in this collection but instead focused on his own background.
Listening to alternative rock band Placebo during his ‘angsty’ youth was another shaping factor of this collection. Lead vocalist Brian Molko provided inspiration. His androgynous dressing and unadulterated confidence in what he wore particularly influenced Parnell-Mooney. A model took to the runway in a floaty silk top; his trousers sparkling with the glitter that lined a leg of the trousers. A few androgynous models were cast in the show too, to evoke the Molko’s spirit. Many of them had long hair, perfectly manicured and swooped to the side. Molko wore nail varnish, lipstick and eyeliner and famously reclaiming the slur ‘Nancy Boy’ in a Placebo song. Parnell-Mooney printed the song title on a number of pieces.
As a whole this collection had some great pieces. The tees, jackets and hoodies, for example. Where it would’ve triumphed is if it had been more political in its religious imagery. There is a trove of ideas to be explored where an Irish person’s Catholic upbringing is concerned; how it alters from childhood to adulthood. An upcoming designer, it’s likely people would listen to a politically unafraid statement from him. Parnell-Mooney is smart, I’m sure he’s saving it for later.
Photo Credit: dazeddigital.com