Just when you thought that London fashion week couldn't possibly fit another must-see young designer onto its show calendar, along comes Simone Rocha. Though she graduated Central Saint Martins less than two years ago, Rocha has already made her presence felt on the local fashion scene: She presented as part of Fashion East for two seasons, designed a six-piece capsule collection for Topshop last year, and found herself with a cult phenomenon shoe on her hands, in the shape of a brogue with a Perspex sole. And this afternoon Rocha affirmed her position as London's hottest up-and-comer with her fantastic first runway show.
The first thing that jumps out at you about Rocha is that she's an innovator with textiles: Her new collection featured a plethora of unusual fabrications, such as mirror-bright silver leather, Linton tweed veiled in tulle, wools tufted onto clear PVC, and wild mohair. But Rocha isn't myopic about her materials; she uses them, cannily, to serve her street-inflected yet strangely dreamy point of view. The creamy veiled tweed pieces were a case in point: Rocha used the material in sharply cut minidresses, short skirts, and peplum blouses; the tulle overlay, meanwhile, gave the looks an otherworldly quality. Detachable crochet collars added an unexpectedly feral element, as well—one echoed in the dense hand-knit pieces that showed up later. There was something monstrous about Rocha's PVC dresses with mountains of thick wool sculpted in the front, but the look grew on you. Elsewhere, the boyish coats and jackets had a more readily palatable urchin glamour; the jacket in mirrored leather is going to be on a lot of editors' pre-order lists, without a doubt. Ditto Rocha's shoes, purposefully clunky flats kitted out with her now signature Perspex sole. Long story short, get on board with Rocha now, because she's about to take off.