In only a few seasons, Simone Rocha has established her show as one of
the must-sees of London fashion week. And she has yet to disappoint.
This time out, she affirmed her consistency: Looking back over Rocha's
previous collections, you're reminded of the fact that she launched her
brand with its point of view pretty much fully formed. Everything since
has been elaboration. The notable development here was a shift in key,
as Rocha put a more sophisticated spin on her trademark girlishness.
There was an aura of tentative sexiness that felt new, and a clutch of
looks that had a rather adult tone of matter-of-factness. But none of
this felt like a leap so much as an incremental advance; bit by bit, the
Rocha gamine is growing up.
There were other changes, too. This season, the designer shied away from the aggressive volumes that gave her last collection so much punch, and replaced them with more understated silhouettes. The sculpting here ran more to gestures, like the fan of broad pleats on the front or back of a fitted skirt, or the waterfall of fabric draped off the hip of a dress. And though Rocha hasn't lost her taste for odd, almost icky materials, she jettisoned most of last season's plastic textures in favor of fuzzy faux fur and tinsel-dappled mohair. The effect was cozier, but still eccentric. Intriguingly, some of Rocha's best looks found her working with that old staple, wool: Her cropped pants were terrific, and the boxy black jacket and matching pleat-fronted miniskirt proved that the Rocha point of view holds even when the clothes are shorn of bells and whistles. It will be impossible for young London not to love a look like the yellow faux-fur sheath—the sort of thing that made you wonder if Net-a-Porter delivers to Sesame Street—but it was the simplest stuff on the runway today that made you believe in Rocha's longevity. She knows how to pull back as well as explode.