Designer Rory Docherty. Image by Tim White.
Designer Rory Docherty released the debut collection of his eponymous label Rory William Docherty late last year. Titled Part 1- Agnus Dei, it’s a sublime collection of one off pieces and made to order styles that are available exclusively at Scotties Boutique and online. The designer has channeled his artistic upbringing into beautiful clothing that captures the eye and the imagination.
We caught up with Rory to find out more about his brand, what inspires him and what you would never catch him wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
Sketching began in a workbook I received on Valentine’s day 2013. I wanted to create something personal and new, but still beautiful, unapologetically so, relatable but not of the moment, like a lingering dream; A capsule of one off pieces without a season ‘Part 1- Agnus Dei’.
Initially I avoided designing garments, focusing on the creative process, but my drawings evolved into paper maquettes, enlarged into life size distorted shapes, and in spite of myself I began draping fluid and sculptural forms.
Inspiration came from diverse fascinations; austere Catholic priests swathed in lavish embroideries, the contrasting symbolism of the lamb depicted with John the Baptist and the sacrificial lamb, Francis Bacon’s confrontational works Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope and Figure with Meat, and a love of wild nasturtiums.
The aesthetic is simultaneously familiar and remote, a calculated romanticism, an aspirational beauty both sensitive and severe.
What made you become a designer?
My Dad is an Artist and Art Teacher, who taught me to draw at a very early age; it remains at the core of what I do. The prints and embroideries stem from my hand drawn and painted work.
Both my parents were expressive dressers when I was growing up. As Scotts they would throw Hogmanay parties, and I recall Mum in patent ankle strap stilettos, floral pants, a satin cummerbund and black sequined jacket. It was probably inevitable.
What inspires you?
The desire to create is a compulsion.
I find myself subconsciously drawn to certain things at a certain time, and it’s through exploration that l discover their connection. As I delve deeper a larger scene emerges. The feeling the imagined moving picture evokes is what I am trying to convey.
Looks from Rory William Dochery’s Part 1- Agnus Dei collection. Images by Tim White.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I dress depending on the situation and my mood, it’s an emotional response. Even when I’m at my most dressed up, it reflects what I’m about, so I always feel comfortable. I’m a romantic and very sentimental, I like to feel a connection to the clothes I wear; pieces I’ve made, coveted or found on travels. An item of clothing is therefore wrapped in the story of its acquisition, so putting it on taps back into those memories.
I design with the same philosophy. I hope the pieces I create may hold that value for others, and are cherished for many years.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
I can’t single anything out. I love beautiful things, and try surround myself with items that inspire me, especially art and furniture. More often than not what I appreciate most are gifts I have received, or items that hold some sentimental value.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Beautiful jackets and coats. Invest in well made pieces with an elegant fit that effortlessly hangs from the shoulder. What’s worn underneath can become inconsequential with an incredible outerwear piece.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Trust your instincts. I believe you know within yourself when it feels right or wrong. The excitement of putting something on makes you feel great, or something just tells you, I don’t feel comfortable, it’s not me.
Look from Rory William Dochery’s Part 1- Agnus Dei collection. Image supplied.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Possibly the opening night of my exhibition last year Part 1 – Agnus Dei. The sense of relief that the hard work is done (at least for now), pride in seeing it all finally come together, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the supportive friends, family, industry colleagues and collaborators who believe in you and helped achieve the goal.
What can’t you live without?
Paper and pencil, be it a large workbook, a pocket travel sketch book, or I’ll rummage for the back of a receipt, when in need.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Ohh, I don’t know, anything is possible. Grace Jones cleverly entitled her autobiography “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs” after a statement she made previously.