With Erdem and Christopher Kane all grown up and in the big leagues, London’s new crop of up-and-coming designers are already making a name for themselves. Simone Rocha has been on the industry’s radar since her first solo show in 2011 and this season (which is only her fourth) she proved she’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Rocha opened her show with pepto pink ladylike looks, like calf-length dresses and a sweet skirt suit. They were adorable, but far from dainty, thanks to the structured, technical-looking fabric Rocha used, which gave them a kind of off-kilter vibe. They stole my heart instantly. Next came similar looks but in a black palette–something for Rocha’s shy clients perhaps.
But then we were back to the bold: faux fur sweaters, matched with a glossy patent skirt; a full faux fur dress (in black and cream colorways); and a full patent leather outfit. Rocha clearly likes to have fun with textures, putting a subversive spin on ladylike style by infusing it with unexpected, and sometimes downright strange (in a good way) fabrics. A white cotton shirt dress, for instance, was adorned with a cream colored fur bodice and skirt.
Rocha ended on a sweet note: a series of pastel pink frocks, and then black sparkly tweed dresses–the perfect blend of conservative yet cool. Which isn’t surprising when you consider the jumping off point for the collection.
“It was very much inspired by my grandpaents and my respect for them,” Rocha told us backstage. “I wanted to give a lot of respect to the collection with the fabrication and the cut and the silhouette. It was originally kind of inspired by nostalgia of my family. But then looking at it with a naiveté. So it gave things a useful [modern] feeling, even though it had kind of a heritage beginning.”
Asked about her design process, Rocha said “I think it needs to feel very natural, and it needs to feel sincere. Whatever you feel when you’re looking at the research for the collection. That’s what goes into it. ”
For a young ready-to-wear designer, Rocha already has an impressively strong accessories category, which has won her a loyal fan base. This season, she followed up her early success with seriously covetable shoes: Oxfords, mules and slipper shapes done up in black, pink, yellow and fabricated with patent, velvet, and glitter with lucite heels are sure to be a hit among the street style set.
“I wanted to take the classic slipper and elevate it into something modern,” Rocha said. Misson accomplished.