The kids are alright. London is in safe hands. Go to bed, grandma and stop worrying about it! That's what Simone Rocha's show notes might as well have said. This was such an accomplished collection for Rocha - frankly, it would have been so for any designer with the sense and sensibility to create it - but it was unmistakably hers and hers only. By the time the last model walked out to "I wanna be adored", Rocha had distilled what it feels like to be a girl and bottled it. If it was a perfume it would have smelled of fresh jasmine and bluebells.
What the show notes did mention was that Rocha was influenced by Ed Templeton's photographs of teenagers kissing. You could almost hear the butterflies fluttering in the girls' stomachs. Cy Twombly's sculptures were also referenced and you could imagine postcards of the white plaster works pinned on Rocha's wall. References aside, this show was a clear progression of her aesthetic and not one look was out-of-place or one too many.
Fresh white broderie anglaise dresses over trousers (signature white brogues walked on Perspex), a dotted buttoned-up shirt tucked into matching trousers boyishly sweet, and the simple perfection of the proportions on a white lace dress, small collar, sleeves stopping halfway, the hem sitting just at the knee - where to begin? If it's all sounding a bit too saccharine for you, relax. Rocha is a cool girl (this show will only intensify the girl crushes many in the audience have in her!) so the sweetness was undercut but never underplayed with innovation in the form of the materials used. Buttery leather was used in a biker jacket and pleated skirt, a gold crochet tank top over a crisp white shirt sat above a crochet skirt, and a light yellow desiccated tweed dress had a heart-shaped neckline. If it worked in white, it worked in black; a patent leather skirt had a sheer layer on top and a dropped-waist tiered dress looked great over matching trousers. And it definitely worked in neon yellow with embroidered plastic daisies offering a new take on neon lace. But it all came back to innocent, sweet white lace and those daisies looked fantastic on a long dress, flaring out at the knee, worn over a shirt, collar poking out, or as a sheer scalloped jacket and skirt.
The Perspex-heeled pumps and brogues, scalloped Perspex 'lunch' bags and crochet-framed halo hairbands are a sure sign that Rocha knows how to sell her vision - every girl and grown woman will want those and pretty much everything else in the show too. Dad Rocha, siting on the front row, looked proud. And so did everyone in the audience. This kid is doing just fine, thank you.