What a luxury to get up close — although not too close, of course — to Simone Rocha’s creations with their rounded edges, exaggerated proportions and lavish pearl and crystal embellishments.
This season, due to stricter social distancing rules in England, Rocha staged a presentation at Hauser & Wirth art gallery on Savile Row instead of a show. Models spread out across the vast, sunlit space and occasionally swapped places to ensure that the guests who’d gathered round had a chance to see everything as closely as possible.
Rocha, who is forever looking at the female condition — in history, in society, inside and outside the home — explored identity, physicality, the human form and handmade things. She said the past few months under lockdown have been a time of “craving human interaction and touch,” and said she wanted to highlight craft and explore ideas of fragility and strength.
Her famously oversized, curving silhouettes came with handwork, monogramming and delicate embellishment — as in a First Holy Communion-style dress, its tulle skirt edged in white cotton ruffles and a specially commissioned broderie anglaise border with the designer’s initials, “SR.” The models — of a variety of ages, sizes and nationalities — wore earrings or necklaces with their own initials.
That special broderie anglaise wound its way around the collection, landing on the edge of a long, asymmetric white cotton shirt or the petticoats under a printed cape dress with big pouf sleeves.
More tactility came in a sheer, embroidered organza, toga-like dress that was crisscrossed with black ribbons; little pearl garlands strung across the bodice and hemline of a cloqué dress with a “Little Women” feel, and delicate crowns and latticework overlays made from garnet-colored beads.
Notwithstanding all the pearls, ruffles and tulle, this collection radiated power and old-world glamour. Hopefully, Rocha’s woman will have somewhere to make her big statement when this pandemic is finally over.