There’s something about Simone Rocha‘s collections that truly, truly makes you feel emotions – a rare thing in today’s fashion. The designer hoped her autumn-winter 2022 show stirred up an “arresting melancholy euphoria” for her guests. It surely did mesmerise. The darkly seductive collection, inspired by an Irish fairytale that has stayed with the designer since her childhood, is probably one of the best collections of the entire London Fashion Week. Rocha was inspired by “Children of Lir” – the dark and intriguing tale of Aodh, Fionnula, Fiachra and Conn Lir, who were turned into swans for 900 years at the jealous hands of their magical stepmother, is one every Irish child knows. But, for Rocha, it has always represented a particular kind of “melancholy beauty”. For the latest offering, she mused on the transformation from human to bird through the manipulation of her garments. Accordingly, wings seem to burst through nylon taffetas, while technical water-resistant padded nylons and patent leathers give the feeling of being wet. Velvet, last seen in Simone Rocha’s autumn-winter 2017 collection, makes a comeback because of the wonderfully melancholy feel it has when dyed a rich blue. A new woollen embroidery, called “Bloodline”, is hand stitched onto tulles and organzas, while eiderdown quilting also gives added texture to her signature voluminous silhouettes. From the new crystal-flecked balaclavas, ultra-long stockings and elongated gloves to the myriad layering ideas, this was the sort of clothing you want to wrap up in and listen to stories. Really good stories. There was also the jewellery: crystallised hair clips and pearly jewellery are the easily identifiable entry points into her world, and this season, they have been given the beauty treatment. Perched delicately around models’ eyes, the effect was one of water droplets, and totally mesmerising to look at. In Rocha’s hands, the wet-look becomes magical.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.