#SuzyLFW: Simone Rocha – Edwardian Meets Punk

There was something magical about the way lighted candles flickered in the chandeliers across the Goldsmiths’ Hall, giving the Simone Rocha show a compelling grandeur.

While there were the designer’s signature curvy black lace dresses worn by models who walked the richly patterned carpet in pearl decorated flat shoes, there was something historically beautiful about the autumn/winter 2018 collection.

The show opened with black tailoring, but still with little black keepsake necklaces and thin satin bows. Then came cream tinsel over grey tailoring, followed by flowers, soft and sweet, the dresses anchored with bows.

“The collection was inspired by John Constable’s work – his landscapes, which he is known for, as almost golden in the green landscapes.” said Simone. “So I did golden embroidery and worked it into this brocade – then I could translate it. Some elements are very Edwardian, but some are more punky.”

The looks veered from a wave of prettiness to something sharper and more tailored, even then a grey trouser suit might have black ribbons tied in bows at the knees and ankles.

“Because of the Edwardian feel, I wanted to focus on suiting, so I’ve done a lot more tailoring this time,” said the designer.

“I wanted something sharp to almost punctuate the femininity. I have double breasted jackets and blazers, layered with dresses with the Edwardian scoop neckline. The tulle has been restructured into the idea of gathered roses.”

Simone’s skill is in slipping in and out of history and making the move from dream to reality seem feasible. So a tartan outfit somewhere between the Scottish Highlands and London punk, was followed by an outfit in the same spirit with plaid cloth melting into fur. Worn with these clothes were what Simone called “a punky shoe with kind of a harder edge.”

As always with the designer, there were edgy moments when sweet turns sour, or tough becomes tender. These switches from hard to soft, the mix of past and present, were masterly.

Although she made the process and the details so complex, the result was perfectly judged. Having recently opened shops in London and New York, Simone must be learning about the subtle balance between need and desire. In this show she proved herself mistress of the Edwardian and the modern world.

Next week in Milan, Simone Rocha will be introduced as one of four designers selected by Moncler for a new project. The others are Craig Green, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Francesco Ragazzi.