She cited ‘fragile rebels’ as one of the key inspirations behind her autumn/winter 2021 collection, and if anyone knows how to strike that oxymoronic balance it’s Simone Rocha.
Showing at London Fashion Week earlier today at the close of the showcases’s second digital-only season, the British designer proved that it’s not only possible to recapture the mood of a real-life runway but that virtual presentations can, in fact, conjure up something even more magical.
There was a fear among designers and buyers/editors alike that the pandemic-induced move towards digital runways would suck the soul out of the occasion; that the almost tangibly intense mood created by runways watched on by a large – albeit very select – wide-eyed audience, utterly hypnotised as the carefully chosen music thumped through their bodies, would be lost.
But with endless brilliant launches, presentations and audience-less catwalks having taken place over the last five days to rapturous applause (virtual, of course), this season has proven the doubters wrong – and Simone Rocha may have just stolen the show altogether.
Creating a unanimous sense that something truly special was being witnessed by all who tuned in – after all, a digital showcase does open up the attendance to anyone with an Internet connection – the exquisite beauty and utter escapism of the collection was all the more impactful as it played out of our laptops to the chaotic backdrop of a cramped WFH desk, noisy upstairs neighbours and a cold piece of toast waiting to be eaten. A far cry from the polished front rows decorated with famous faces and eye-wateringly expensive shoes, the juxtaposition of these two worlds served only to emphasise and exaggerate Simone’s dose of fantasy.
Just over a decade on from her first ever London Fashion Week show which was inspired by teenage rebellion, Simone somewhat returned to her roots for AW21 as she debuted leather biker jackets and contemporary biker boots which – true to form – were given an elegant twist via delicately-positioned pearl embellishments.
Creeping rose embroidery broke up and softened the collection too, with signature lashings of tulle and layers of draped satin adding depth of texture to her much-loved and instantly recognisable silhouettes.
The hair looks were another major highlight, with braids twisted into architectural loops and decorated with rows of beading.
While you could well believe that this collection had taken every lockdown day (and night) to perfect, Simone has of course simultaneously been working on her highly-anticipated collaboration collection with H&M.
Launching in little over two weeks, fans will be racing one another to the (digital) checkouts as they scramble to snap up a taste of the designer’s edgy romantic aesthetic at a high street price point.