This collection was marked by the volume and drama that Simone Rocha has come to be known for. Inspired by the work of John Constable, one of England’s great landscape artists, she sent out a collection with a sense of grandeur, and some shots of punk.
Silhouettes swung from the grand and sculpted to the lean and loud. There were big, sweeping black tulle dresses, some with long flowing ribbons or bows, others with dark sparkles, all of them fit for a Dickens-ian funeral, while jackets had big leg of mutton style sleeves and jutting frills at the shoulder.
On the brighter side, a voluminous golden dress glittered with bits of tinsel fringe, while other, more sculpted ones came with flower prints that looked as if they’d been drawn from Constable’s landscapes. The grand white lace jacket and skirt that closed the show took its cue from one of Constable’s many portraits of prim ladies — although they would have been horrified to see that Rocha had slashed the sleeves.
The designer knows just how to dial down all that gravitas, and sent out a lineup of shiny vinyl coats in black or post-box red and a long, skinny dresses, too. One came in tartan with streaming black ribbons and others were made from a patchwork of printed silk with little frills on the seams. Pointy-toed shoes with contrast soles added a frisson of rebellion.
“I wanted to do something that was much harder and deeper than last season, which is why I started looking at these very heavy oil paintings,” said Rocha after the show, which she held at the very grand Goldsmith’s Hall in the City of London. “I wanted it to be not glamorous, but generous, with lots of embellishment, and a big focus on something beautiful and rich — but doing it on these punkish girls.”
After taking a girlish turn for spring with a collection inspired by china dolls and featuring some tricky proportions, Rocha is certainly back where she belongs, exploring the shadows — and roughing history up a bit.