The story behind Simone Rocha‘s phenomenal spring-summer 2020 might not be that obvious – especially if you’ve got nothing to do with Irish origins. “I was thinking about the Irish wren-boys, who go hunt and kill a wren on St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland—punkish boys who go knocking on doors, kind of like trick-or-treaters,” said the designer backstage. “So I wanted to bring that masculinity to the table, but also turn and look into the houses of the people whose doors they knock on – at the Delft china, the tablecloths, the wallpaper.” More explanation: it’s about the pre-Christian wren-boy tradition: the day-after-Christmas parade when men dress in straw outfits, capture a wren, and knock on neighborhood doors to demand money. Some of the girls in Rocha’s line-up had wren feathers painted on their foreheads. The straw was used in basket bags, while in some looks it could have been spotted as an armor covering the dresses. Although the reference might have killed the collection with its heaviness, Rocha created something subtle, magical. Yes, magical. There were hints of something raw and ritualistic: blasts of folk music, straw sashes and crocheted raffia. The delicate blue-and-white ruffles and the nods to old tablecloths and curtains you can find in your relative’s attic brought even more of mystical nostalgia you feel charmed by as a kid. The floor-sweeping gowns that closed the show had something very witchy about them, even etheral. This collection instantly becomes one of my favourites of the season.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.