LFW SS24: Simone Rocha

SAFEGUARDING her title as one of London Fashion Week’s favourite designers, Simone Rocha unveiled her spring-summer 2024 collection at the English National Ballet’s rehearsal studio in Canning Town.

The Irish-Cantonese designer, known for her eerily romantic collections, decided to opt for a much more intimate setting for SS24 in comparison to other seasons.

Having previously hosted her runway shows at the Central Hall Westminster, the Old Bailey and London’s Inns of Court, Rocha settled on the rehearsal studio stating: “I wanted people to feel closer to the collection and the workmanship that’s gone into it.”

Providing some insight into the inspiration for her collection, the esteemed designer wrote a poem:

Procession, obsession

Declaration (of love)

decoration, tension

To have and to hold

To be bound

To one another

Something old, something new something borrowed

something baby blue

Featuring layers and layers of white tulle, cotton-candy pink satin dresses and an impressive sum of budding roses, the collection exuded matrimonial elegance. Extravagant appliqué details adorned various silhouettes and demonstrated the designer’s focus on opulence and refinement.

Roses – the main motif seen throughout the collection – were carefully crafted from paper, fabric, pearls, and cotton and were pressed between layers of mesh to heighten the delicate aesthetic of the latest offering.

Diving into her Irish roots, Rocha further demonstrated the marital themes of the collection through set design. In the middle of the dark, moody rehearsal room, sat a skeletal architectural structure that symbolised the Little Ark of Kilbaha.

In 1852, the Little Ark of Kilbaha was constructed off the coast of County Clare to provide a space for local residents to say mass after a landlord refused to build a church for them on the land. For a duration of five years, people would gather around the Ark to celebrate mass, get married and baptise children.

Acting as a symbol of hope, rebellion and community, Rocha considered it apt in relation to the themes of her collection.

Exhibiting tutus, criss-cross ballerina sneakers and a plethora of bows, the collection stayed true to Rocha’s principal design codes. Continuing to demonstrate her affinity for ballet and dance, the collection could be interpreted as the designer’s eternal commitment to the theatrical craft.

Despite the designer being known for her intricate ballet flats, Rocha debuted her collaboration with Crocs during the spring/summer runway show. Having been inspired by Cy Twombly’s sculptural plaster cake pieces, Rocha has embellished her platform Crocs with pearls, beads, diamanté crystals and more.

Additionally, the designer revealed a new line of handbags for the new season. Inspired in shape by cake boxes, the new bag silhouette is available in cream, nude, oxblood red and black and features a pearl-studded clasp.

Combining her cultural background with her traditional colour palette, design approach and interest in ballet, the SS24 collection emphasises the designer’s ability to continually evolve with her work and practice.

by Sophie Richardson

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