One has come to expect certain details from a Simone Rocha show. Grandeur, a feminity with underlying strength, a layer-able decadence. All were present for A/W 18, but perhaps a little predictable. There were moments that felt remarkably akin to her A/W 17 offering, the fluffy shoe continued, the cross body sash – here was beautifully delicate and beaded, prior was heavy and leather – and the layering of sheer over jacquard or print we’ve most definitely seen before.
If I think back to the neons or the leopard prints from collections past, and the variety of Rocha’s silhouette and material choice, this collection feels like a far cry from the variations of yore and of a very similar ilk to her most recent offerings. But perhaps that is this show’s success? Perhaps I am expecting too much of a change, when in fact it is not needed. Rocha has unabashedly found her niche, her signature, and it works. She is incredibly popular, not only with the fashion clientele (as is so often the case with many London designers) but with the public too. I so often see her instantly recognisable earrings on the tube, much to my glee.
The casting here was beautiful. English Roses in dropped shoulder jacquards and gilded lace layers looked practically Pre-Raphaelite, cherubic even. Fitting, considering our location of the gold trimmed and grand Goldsmiths Hall. In keeping with that decade, swathes of fur trimming sheer smocks felt regal and deluxe, as too did the trailing ribbons and cross body bows – as if Rocha’s nod to corsetry. These bows, the braided hair, a blue shirt-like smock dress and the introduction of a shimmering tinsel, also hinted to the 'bedtime prayers' mentioned in the notes, as if these characters were children running through the halls of a grand house at night. Tartans and tulle plaid felt rich and inviting – they oozed confidence, for the woman who’s practical and assured. Rocha often references mothers and children and I would love to see a more mature model walk the runway. After all, Rocha’s designs are one of the few that look truly fantastic on all body types, all ages. Sure, previous shows have seen the older woman walk for Rocha but this season’s tartan pieces on a grey-haired model? Sublime.
The lacquered macs throughout were a great textural injection to the lace, tulle and ornamental beading. The muddied khaki version with leg o’mutton sleeve seemed to have jumped straight from a John Constable portrait and the belted red dress option, that slung off the shoulder, was the show’s knockout piece. By the last look, my initial qualms about a lack of surprise, a lack of definitive change seemed to be quelled entirely. A magnificent offering in a magnificent setting.