#2016 – Simone Rocha

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I always praise Simone Rocha for being an independent fashion designer, who doesn’t fall into the trend of having pre-collections. And that’s truly rare in today’s industry. Two collections a year gives Rocha the time and space for the creative process, which is so in demand at the moment – very few can deliver it under this unbearable pressure. But 2016 wasn’t only a highlight for Rocha in her professional life, but also in her private life. Being a new mom and working in fashion simultaenously is a big achievement. Surprisinly, this meant creativity boost for autumn-winter 2016, letting Rocha look 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 a Lolita, Mary Poppins or Jane Eyre one day – and she is blooming just as the designer herself.

Staying true to her romantic spirit, Simone Rocha staged her spring-summer 2017 show in Southwark Cathedral, where the models walked down the gothic aisle. The venue matched the charming sublimity of Rocha’s latest line of delicate textures and girlie silhouettes, and it smoothly worked with the collection’s British accents and the designer’s long-term inspirations. Voluminous poplin-cotton shirts were layered with Prince of Wales checks; a classic trench-coat has never looked like a Louise Bourgeois sculpture before. While working on the collection, the designer took a glance at baptismal gowns and communion dresses, reworking them in authentic broderie anglaise lace. But don’t expect to see a traditional wedding dress here. Simone Rocha’s fascination with perversion oozes in those not-so-bride-ready gowns. Although we’re talking about sacred and holy, the designer’s pieces are far from innoncent. Sheer organza sheath with elongated sleeves shyly exposed nipples, while a tulle skirt with embroidered flowers showed some leg… accidentally. Note the models’ patent wellies and synthetic-white, rubber gloves. Red lips and wet hair. Rocha’s Catholic girls coming from good village families are naughty. In a very elusive, gentle way.

What will 2017 mean for Rocha?

Your wardrobe needs… Simone Rocha buckle heelsSimone Rocha embroidered tulle top & Simone Rocha ruffled skirt.

September. Burberry AW16

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Everybody was excited about the wave of fresh, young talents taking over London Fashion Week’s scene. But the changes (or rather reforms) taking place at Burberry were on everybody’s lips since day one. The title of this post seems to be awkward at a glance: “Burberry AW16”. Wait, but didn’t Christopher Bailey, the creative director and CEO of the brand, presented his autum-winter 2016 collection back in March? Indeed. But this what you will see now is the continuation of the winter season, and it’s also a first peek at Burberry’s new business model, which slightly differs from Tom Ford‘s or Hillier Bartley‘s. In fact, the collection is called “September 2016”, and it became available minutes after the actual show took place in nearly all Burberry boutiques world-wide, and on-line. Impressive.

By coincidence (or not, perhaps) I’m much more into winter collections than the summer ones. Basically, it’s getting cold, and seeing a line of great shearling jackets, boots with tassels and over-sized knitwear appeals to me naturally. That said, Burberry presented over 140 looks of warming goodness. The models, who looked like the gender-switching protagonist from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, are somewhere between shirts with ruffled accordion detailing from the Elizabethan era, and opulent, jacquard dresses. The exquisitely crafted cavalry jacket stole my heart with its intricate English regalia and a very sleek silhouette. Satin pajama shirts and velvet pants for men – Bailey nailed it. In some places, the collection is similar to Alessandro Michele’s poetic debut season at Gucci. But the distinct Burberry signatures, like the iconic trench coat, remind you we’re in London, not Milan.

I forgot when was the last time I LOVED a Burberry collection, or at least didn’t yawn during one. I think “September 2016” is my first real love affair with this British brand, due to many reasons – the innovative business strategy, the mood, the clothes. It all works for me. And I’m drooling for those boots with tassels.

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Elizabeth. Giles SS16

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To understand Giles‘s spring-summer 2016 collection, it’s good to look at the last few outfits. The laser-cut, micro-pleated, satin organza gown was worn by the one and only, red-haired Karen Elson. She emerged, looking at the audience with a royal manner, like the clone of Queen Elizabeth I in some kind of postapocalyptic, futuristic times. The show was set in the Elizabethan-era Banqueting Room in Whitehall, which was booked by Giles Deacon already a year ago – however, the place precisely reflected the collection’s mood. All the historic references played a role in the textile usage – Baroque wallpaper florals and embroideries based on tapestries look stunning on everything. There is no Giles collection without a proper dose of drama, too. The designer indulged himself in voluminous skirts, balloon-shaped sleeves and dresses with parachute hems or underlying layers of tulle. The long, white shirt-dress worn by Natalie Westling is the key piece to look forward next season. And coming back to the model casting, Giles was over-the-top with the hottest faces: Edie Campbell, Erin O’Connor, Molly Bair, Damaris Goddrie, Anna Cleveland and many more walked the runway last night.

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Rose of England. Alexander McQueen AW15

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Sarah Burton elegantly swifts between avant-garde and wearable. This season she went romance for Alexander McQueen. Pale bink, burgundy and black lace gowns looked ethreal, but in sharp way. And as every rose has it’s thorns, Sarah created an insteresting conversation between fragility and heavy beats. With dark feathers and floral prints, the designer brought things back to nature – a favourite, almost obsessive playground of McQueen. Just days before the opening of Savage Beauty, his Victoria & Alberts retrospective, it felt like a tribute to the designer’s ability to always go beyond and reveal beauty hidden in darkness.

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England. Mary Katrantzou SS14

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Mary Katrantzou’s SS14 collection was all about… Yeah, prints and… England! The queen of prints again mastered this what she does best, and this happened- brogues (type of shoes for men that are hand-made in England) and lots of English gardens appeared on fantastic dresses created by Mary. The collection indeed is very beautiful- I really like the topic of shoes covering dresses- that sounds a bit strange. But this V neck dress looks really good. The next dresses covered all over with fairy-tale gardens looked too amazing. Jackets, tops and trousers looked like flower-bombs and additionally decorated with printed gems, it looked even more spectacular. What’s most exciting about this collection, is that all these prints are so 3-D… And at the same time they don’t make the women silhouette visually look fatter! Why? It’s all thanks to amazing Mary Katrantzou.

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