This may have been Simone Rocha’s first show on London Fashion Week’s official schedule, but the young NEWGEN-sponsored Central Saint Martins grad is one of the week’s standouts. Since launching her line four seasons ago, the Irish designer, who had previously shown with Fashion East, has played with the masculine and the feminine, as well as texture and transparency. Both of these concepts appeared in her fall collection of cream tulle-encased tweeds, black pony-hair jackets and high gloss silver leather.
Inspired by the tribes of Papua New Guinea, as well as Dublin City children of the ’30s and new and old concepts of her native Ireland, Rocha took her inventive use of materials to the next level this season, offering clear PVC pieces garnished with wooly yarn, ladylike lace contrasted with fuzzy mohair or trimmed with braided wool and a smoky leopard print. The voluminous, boyish overcoats, innocent peplum dresses and straight-cut skirts and tops were effortless and beautifully constructed.
“For me, what’s really exciting is mixing old and new fabrics, hard and soft. That’s what makes it fresh,” says the designer. From the crisp detachable collars that finished many of her sweet looks, as well as her signature stacked Perspex heel brogues, her youthful, cool collection was indeed fresh. The designer even injected a bit of humor, styling the models’ bangs to look like Connemara forelocks and crowning them with woven jockey caps. “The girls are meant to be little ponies!” laughed the designer backstage, adding that her soundtrack of PJ Harvey and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was mixed by her brother. “We wanted her to be a tough, cool girl. We wanted her to rock ‘n roll,” said Rocha of her fall femme. No doubt the girls who snatch up the designer’s new looks will do just that.