Thursday, November 28, 2013

Simone Rocha Spring 2014

Immersing myself in all things fashion, creative and pop cult is usually my first port of call as soon as exams finish, so the day after my last exam I bought my first copy of Lula and was delighted to find an interview with Simone Rocha in the covers. A few weeks earlier I had seen her featured as part of Australian Vogue but was largely unimpressed reading about a collection I had already reviewed one month earlier and very little discussion about the designs themselves and more focus on Rocha's professional life. What a total yawn- I skimmed the article and carefully dissected runway images and backstage shots for my growing portfolio of magazine cut outs for collage creation. But Lula was able to extract information personal information without being too intrusive, and allowed the designer to speak freely about the cohesion between each collection and her characteristic, slightly quirky designs.

Spring 2014 heralds a new era with nods to the aristocracy and refinement in the Simone Rocha narrative creating clothes more suitable for sipping tea with the queen. The most noticeable change is the use of colour- black, white and cream dominate with a sparse use of forest green replacing the popping neon tones of last season. However this seems more visually striking in other ways because it allows the viewer to examine the great depth of detail and texture shaping subtle floral motifs, ruffled hemlines and lace detail. All of these cute elements are projected onto familiar chic coats, sheer blouses and blossoming skirts with the addition of nude knee high pantyhose- something more akin to your grandmother's collection of hosiery suitable for wearing to church on a Sunday. All of these details become slightly subversive when experimental skirt design mimics that of a frail curtain hiding secrets behind it or when selective cut outs act as small windows of skin on the thighs. 

The interview opened my eyes to just how personal the clothes are for Rocha and how they are a reflection of her own fascinating personal life and style. I hadn't realised or it wasn't blatantly obvious to me that she was bi-racial, having a Chinese grandmother in Hong Kong and an Irish grandmother both of whom slightly influenced Simone's personal style and experience. It particular hit home for me being half Chinese myself and I tend to spend a lot of time vicariously living through my boyfriend and sitting tea at his grandma's house when we're both looking for refuge after shopping and waiting for traffic to thin out.

I also (
finally) learned the secret connection of brogues and footwear between all of her collection- stemming back to Rocha's days as a teenager running around in London with teen boys simply not understanding her statement style. This particular anecdote struck a chord as being somehow connected to the Enid Coleslaw story of Daniel Clowes Ghost World, or perhaps the story of an alienated teenage girl is just universal to everyone's experience when dabbling in strange and unique fashion, trying to push past superficial barriers as a teenager.

As per usual the selection of quirky and customized patent leather brogues blew everyone away and leaving many minds calculating their grocery bills for the next few months and wondering whether they could make room in their budgets if it meant being able to wear enviable footwear. Not that I advocate starving in order to look good, it's just Simone Rocha shoes are dizzyingly expensive when you still live at home with your parents and need to get a proper part time job.

The footwear was made to match the more refined, respectful approach of the season as hinted by the rows of tiny pearls decorating the loafers alongside and the trademark perspex heel- like a match made in heaven. I'm continually surprised that although there are billions of knock-offs copying perspex heels, none have come anywhere close to capturing the essence of the original design Simone Rocha has pioneered. Or maybe they just don't get the whole creative decisions behind the shoe and don't respect those lofty ideals and would rather create tacky hot pink and black gaudy creations in the vain of Jeffrey Campbell boots. Whatever. 

While I am intrigued by the narrative Simone Rocha has created through her eponymous brand, I haven't seen nearly as many fashion bloggers wrapping themselves in this seasons coats and skirts when compared to the success of last season's neon yellow and tangerine daisy embroidered organza. The youthful charm and naivete isn't as explicit in this collection, which may be attributed to the strong influence of Rocha's Chinese and Irish grandmothers. She speaks freely of the people in her day to day life being a constant source of inspiration and the clothing she makes made for family, friends and even her staff.
It feels like designing her own brand first without working as an underling at any other brand enabled Rocha to have a clearer sense of the clothing she wanted to make and a stronger sense of her own creative identity and vision. Her work is purely a reflection of her interaction with the world through fashion, and she does it so well it's nearly heart-breaking. She's a firm favourite on everyone's lips and the current golden girl of the fashion world- I can't wait to see what she whips up next in her magical workshop.

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