For those attendees who couldn't get to their phones fast enough to Shazam the first tune that played at Simone Rocha's show today, it was "Island Song" by U.S. Girls. (The other song on the soundtrack was "Atmosphere" by Joy Division.) It's worth mentioning the music because, even before Sojourner Morrell made an entrance on the catwalk in the collection's first look, "Island Song" augured a new Simone Rocha tone, one much darker than we've seen up to now. Simply put, this collection felt like the end of innocence. There was a poetic depth to these looks, and an edge of menace. Not to mention a sense of sexual authority.
Those qualities came through most clearly via Rocha's key construction innovation: a way of hanging a full skirt low on the hip and off to one side, so it almost looked like it was falling off. Quite a bit of skin was revealed in the process, but Rocha played that coy, applying a clutch of tulle to the naked areas. There was a similar commingling of provocation and coyness in Rocha's slits, which she cut horizontally into bouffant skirts and bordered with pearl embroidery. The slit/pearl interplay was an idea so good you wondered why no designer had thought of it before. Elsewhere, that tone of elegant dishabille was echoed in a pair of little silk slipdresses with articulated busts; these felt really new for Rocha in that they dispensed with any kind of sculpted volume.
Rocha was plainly pushing herself here. Although the collection included several of her signature sci-fi fabrics—the most notable being a kind of plasticized crochet—they didn't read as the main story. She also tried on a new proportion, eschewing the Perspex-soled platforms she's known for in a few looks and using ballet flats instead. But the accessory that stole the show this time out was the pearl-rimmed knee-high stockings, which are guaranteed to be all over the Spring 2014 fashion editorials. You get the feeling Simone Rocha has a lot more ideas where that came from.