I am always praising Simone Rocha for being a young and independent designer, who doesn’t fall into the trend of having pre-collections. And that’s truly rare in today’s fashion industry – even though there are a few exceptions in this case, like Gareth Pugh or Vetements collective. Two collections a year give Rocha the time for the creative process, which is so in need at the moment, and lets the designer convey her vision to the fullest. And, as her gift keeps on giving, it’s a good occasion to congratulate the designer – she has just given birth to her baby, Valentine! And, to a surprise, this event gave Simone a creativity boost this season, looking deeper into the meaning of “baby-boom”. “I started to do this wrapping and swaddling with stoles. There’s something a bit surgical and matronly going on—sick-y nudes, the lilac of the uniforms that nurses used to wear. Medical aprons; knitting as women do when there’s a baby coming; schlumpy, relaxed shapes—and a little bit of trauma!” Yep, this doesn’t sound like your average post-pregnancy reflection.
Indeed, the autumn-winter 2016 collection had a lot to do with nurse uniforms, being psychedelically revamped with a various shades of pink. The fur stoles and fluffy Mary-Jane flats gave the feeling of babyish innocence, but that can’t be said of the darker dresses and coats – Rocha’s “matrons” with strict black bows lurk from the Victorian history of hospitals that up to now haunt Irish tales and stories. The woman behind AW16’s plot is both, sweet and sour – she might be Lolita, Mary Poppins or Jane Eyre one day – and she is blooming just as the designer herself.