Young London Calling: Simone Rocha
London is a hotbed of young talent in fashion, and the city is known for supporting the young, the wild, and the penniless like few other fashion capitals. Just in time for London fashion week, Style.com checked in with three of the city’s most exciting emerging designers. First up: Simone Rocha.
“It’s a whole other gaggle of fish!” says Irish-born designer Simone Rocha, 24, of her first solo runway show, set to take place on September 18. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2010, Rocha was spotted by Lulu Kennedy and, for the past two seasons, has shown her strong yet ethereal womenswear collection under the umbrella of Kennedy’s nonprofit fashion initiative, Fashion East. “I’m nervous and excited—I feel like it’s a really good time to be flying solo,” she adds about the leap. But while Rocha may be a new face, she’s no stranger to the fashion business. Thanks to her father, designer John Rocha, Simone has been around the runway since before she can remember.
For her Spring collection, Rocha builds on last season’s inspiration, the work of artist Louise Bourgeois. “I looked at her lace works and hanging garments and tried to trap them into the clothes,” she says. That spawned sheer rubber skirts, the waistbands of which are inlaid with delicate lace, as well as a range of geometric rubber handbags that are infused with a sense of nostalgia via attached vintage lace gloves. The neutral, airy collection’s feminine notes, like the frills of a shapely white lace skirt and occasional pops of pink, are balanced by the strength of a black blazer with sheer arms, as well as unexpected cutouts, a series of sharp silk crepe and stretch cotton shirts, and elevated brogues. “I’m trying to contrast modern tailoring and classic shapes with femininity,” she says. The same holds true of her upcoming Topshop capsule collection, which hits stores in New York and London on September 15.