It was a Rocha family extravaganza this year at London Fashion Week with both father and daughter showing on the same day. One was showing in the BFC Courtyard Show Space, while the other was at the Embankment Show Space. And as Elle so eloquently put it, the family that sews together shows together. Simone was the first of the two Rochas on the day, and as her father sat proudly on the front row, his daughter dutifully returned the compliment and no doubt picked up a few tips on how to survive in this business. John Rocha is an institution at London Fashion Week, with a CBE under his belt and over a decade showing on the catwalk in London, his daughter couldn’t be picking up tips from a better candidate.
Black was the colour of choice for John Rocha. Not that it changed too much from the previous seasons, for he has always had a love affair with the colour noir. It is in his detailing, texturising and embellishments that he makes his mark.
And that he done with aplomb, sending out an inflated taffeta jacket on his first model. This season featured panelled dresses with dark ochre, heavy gold and shades of grey in his beautifully sculpted sheer dresses. The inspiration were the Sean Scully paintings and the Hong Kong Happy Valley Race Track, which Rocha emphasised through the cut of his dresses. They were as dark and moody as ever, and with exaggerated bell sleeves, heavy Mongolian lambskin coats and roughly embroidered lace dresses that looked more muscular than delicate.
While John Rocha designs are all about the dark and heavy aspects of fashion, Simone seems to be the exact opposite. This couldn’t be more evident in their preferred colour of choice. John Rocha loves black, and by the looks of it Simone loves white.
She was always a designer more interested in the clean and minimal, no fuss and no muss as you might say. Perfecting her boy meets girl androgyny style, Simone has been growing in her own. Inspired by 1930’s Ireland, she had managed to artfully mix the wilderness of the period with statement pieces like the Teddy jacket, the masculine tailoring with the delicate lace that is so unbelievably feminine.
Her textures and fabrics were all about mixing the soft with the artificial, with coats made of mohair, dresses part PVC and lashings of lace thrown in for good measure. Her clothes are as much about 3D texture than the cut itself, for her last piece was a mix of mohair with sheer lace.
This is one designer worth paying attention. Dover Street Market and Colette in Paris have both picked up pieces from her collection and with talks of Harvey Nichols and the Asian markets next, this girl is going from strength to strength.
So what do you think of these two designers? What are your favourite pieces and which ones didn’t you like?