Simone Rocha | Fashion’s Storyteller

In her February 2020 show, Simone Rocha transcended style conventions and created an elegant dreamscape of looks – at once deconstructed and polished – achieving a kind of apocalyptic chicness that was, in retrospect, premonitory.

London fashion week 2020 had a lot to offer in terms of new and bold takes on style. However, it was Simone Rocha who captured my attention the most. In all of her shows, Rocha is able to connect every piece back to a storyline. From the experience of mourning to the inspiring sacrament of religious repentance, Rocha takes the audience on a journey with every stitch.

This show pulled on imagery and inspiration from the Catholic church. Flowing papal sleeves, stark contrasts of black and white, and swatches of deep purple, as well as symbolic imagery, were found amongst bursts of tulle, silks and thick Irish-style stitching. The end of times was wearable. Deep royal purple silk offsets gold inlays of “Saint Benedictine” throughout baptismal looking lace and tulle. According to a late 16th century conspiracy, a pope named Benedict was thought to signal the end of days, hence the dark humor.

A romanticism pervaded the collection. The layered looks involved sashes, oversized jackets, billowing sleeves, braided textile chains and chunky footwear – challenging wearability and conformity, yet absolutely in step for our time. A time that, as of this March 2020 writing in Italy, seems like an end of something, with mysterious new beginning on an unknown horizon. Every look seems an artful collage, as much as a styling choice, bows wrapping up drapery, poofs and fluffery, leaving long, trailing tails like dangling questions. I want to drape myself in these layers, as a protection and a declaration.

Every detail in her show expresses a storyline – one uniquely imagined and felt. This one resonates particularly in this moment in its beauty and meaning. Brava Simone Rocha!