Simone Rocha always brings it. Her SS15 collection was one of my favourites from the now-finished London Fashion Week because it made me question my strictly monochrome, aggressively plain personal style. The Simone Rocha woman is feminine and wants to be dressed in beautiful things. Simone has successfully delivered this every season since her debut in 2010. Born to renowned Irish designer John Rocha, Simone has carved her own uniquely romantic space in women’s ready-to-wear, and the fashion world took notice. Early this year, she was nominated and considered a front-runner for the LVMH Prize. Although the prize eventually went to the equally-uncompromising Thomas Tait, the loss did little to slow her rise. Hugely influential players in the industry, including Suzy Menkes and Karl Lagerfeld, have since come out in support of her designs, and her collections have found more and more buyers like Colette in Paris and 10 Corso Como in Milan, Seoul, and Shanghai.
Her new collection, like much of her previous work, reflects a deep sense of romance with a touch of the erotic. Curly-tressed Victorian babes shuffled softly but not without purpose down the catwalk, dressed in various boudoir-like textiles like brocade, embroidered mesh, even marabou fur. Every piece is undeniably pretty, but never boring or wimpy. There’s power and grit in an all over gaudy red floral print, and similarly, in a woman who isn’t afraid to wear a completely see-through outfit. In fact, what makes these looks so memorable is their lack of restraint—why send down just one piece of transparent pink mesh when you can show an entire three-piece suit with the same fabric?
When I read that a major source of inspiration for this collection was Wong Kar Wai’s films and Hong Kong, it made total sense to me why I couldn’t get these designs out of my mind. Wong is the master of romance done thoughtfully, and one of my favourite filmmakers. Every single one of his movies (In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express), from the cinematography to the costumes, from the music to the set design, have been artfully constructed to evoke love and longing and loss between the characters. I found that the red floral looks and the rose-embroidered mesh pieces, in particular, recalled the intricate, vibrant qipao dresses worn by Maggie Cheung in In the Mood for Love. Rocha’s grandmother is from Hong Kong and the designer visits the island every year. How lovely to see traces of her past in the beautiful clothes she makes.
All images via style.com