Simone Rocha looked to the quirky women’s hairstyles of China’s Tang dynasty, and antique market reproductions of famous female portraits for this collection, an explosion of embroidered flowers on tulle, long trembling veils and bulbous shapes, all with the Rocha curves and generous proportions.
These clothes are always bold, conceptual, textural — immediately identifiable — and Rocha’s latest collection was no exception, what with the heavy flower brocades worked into coats with rounded sleeves and dresses shrouded in black veils. Other tulle dresses were abloom with red and white flowers, while others still had Victorian vibe with off-kilter ruffles and ruching.
Imitation portraits of Chinese ladies were magnified across lace-edged or veil-covered dresses. Looks that weren’t draped in lace were layered with starched white — or bejeweled black — bibs. There was a lot going on here, and it was often overwhelming. Where to look first? At the broad-brimmed hats and encompassing veils? The painted ladies? The fat folds of silky embroidered fabric?
Rocha said she was having fun. “I wanted it to be very playful, and one of the ideas was how I could make these spheres [from the Tang ladies’ hairstyles] into dresses. We’re very playful with our work in the studio when we’re developing, and we like to see things all over the body. And I really just wanted to roll with that,” she said.
Rocha tempered the exuberance with a few quieter designs: a pale lilac dress with a Thirties feel, a white trench with marshmallow-like poufs for sleeves, and a matching dress with a big white collar. They were a welcome break from the deluge of details.