Monday, February 29, 2016

Simone Rocha // Fall 2016 //

Since London Fashion Week has finished I have done nothing but wax lyrical about Mary Katrantzou’s romantic western—the models, Frederic Sanchez’s expertly tailor-made soundtrack (featuring, indelibly, a Dolly Parton cover of ’Save the Last Dance for Me’), the psychedelic clothing. Everything about the show, in Tumblr lingo, ’slayed my entire existence.’ There was another show, just as good, quieter, but utterly magnificent: Simone Rocha. AnOther magazine beautifully dubbed it as ‘the exquisite postpartum poetry of Simone Rocha.” An unbeatable definition, the Irish designer’s Fall 2016 collection was in fact poetic, and referenced childbirth (she gave birth to her daughter, Valentine, recently). If last season’s hypersensitivity through the eyes of a newly pregnant woman produced a colourful rendition, this season’s offering featured sombre hues. “Unravelling,” “falling apart at the seams.” Those two words were especially resonant, referencing the life-changing arrival of an infant. Taking a month off before returning to the design process, Rocha commented that this introduced more ideas. And what brilliant ideas those were.

Rocha’s creativity is not limited to fashion design, she clearly has a knack for poetry. The opening line of this season’s press release-cum-poem was “Baptism, birth, rebirth, Victorian dress, mess.” The first two were obvious, personal things. Rebirth: a new chapter in Rocha’s life. Victorian dress—well, she’s had an affinity for that since day one. It was prevalent here. The rounded collars, floaty sleeves, “tinsel tweed”, suiting and coating. The hair also resembled that of a Victorian woman at the end of a stressful day. Slightly unkempt, holding everything together. It was a perfect segue into “mess.” Messiness is something, as a mother, Rocha will become accustomed to. The styling was key here: looks were “falling apart at the seams”, barely there. 
Styling can be problematic in certain collections. The collaging of looks can muddle visions, but in some cases it solidifies them, as it did here. Motherhood is difficult. Rocha’s fresh, reactionary collection was an exploration of the “female form”, a woman that is “swaddled, wrapping, enveloping, smothering, mothering.” Swathed in tailored tulle and tinsel tweeds, the models were enveloped in clothes, largely comprised of black pieces. A seasonal sombreness, Rocha took the starkest colour and continued to prove that, at times, it can be the nicest of them all. 

It was probably a classical piece of music that hummed as the elegantly clad, Victorian muses hit the runway. For the second consecutive season, Rocha brought her collection to former royal residence Lancaster House. Last season models walked the decadent green carpet, the light beaming down on them. This time around guests were plunged into darkness, a strip of lights illuminating only the model. There was a literal darkness to her subverted femininity. A collection dear to her heart, I’m sure, Rocha is channelling something beautiful into something even more beautiful. Further commendations are due. 
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