Dark and light, grounded and ethereal, Simone Rocha’s collection was full of contrasts and utterly beautiful. She mined her Irish heritage once again, drawing on the myth of the children of Lir — boys and girls transformed into swans for 900 years, only to die when they return to human form.
This poetic collection unfurled at Lincoln’s Inn — a dark, cavernous hall with barristers’ offices dating to the 15th century — and traced the narrative, through Rocha’s eyes, of the children’s metamorphosis and life on the three lakes they were forced to inhabit.
Rocha captured that transformation with layering and plays on proportion: She teamed a fluttering white slip with a chunky black sweater; layered a sheer, dark dress — like a puff of smoke — over a sweet gingham shirt; and dotted long gloves, thigh-high stockings, and knitted accessories with diamanté embroideries.
The standout pieces were feather-light, including slipdresses with a kissing swans motif and long satin streamers flying off the shoulders; a short and bouncy pouf dress done in midnight blue, and the filmy, barely-there lapels on a paper bag trench.
Rocha, who took her bow wearing a short white shirt dress and a jewel clasped to her hair, said riffing on the myth gave her a chance to explore menswear, too. She dressed her models in oversized striped shirts with little black ties at the neck, paper bag trenches and trousers, and big, crinkly patent coats with utilitarian pockets.
It’s been fun to watch Rocha’s own transformation as a designer these past few seasons. Known for her pearl-studded, draped, and rounded silhouettes — so easy to spot from a distance — and her nods to 19th-century dress, she’s broadening her repertoire with more tailoring and androgynous styles without sacrificing any of the poetry.