Rochas celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, although you’d never have guessed it from tonight’s collection at the Palais de Tokyo. What I mean is, it wasn’t particularly celebratory or upbeat or loose, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps, and rather sensibly, Alessandro Dell’Acqua doesn’t feel that he can do that yet. Instead, he has been trying over the last few seasons to slowly move the label into a new direction. So, with the big 9 0 in mind, he looked to the archives in order to 'reassert its classic codes.' And so, a more controlled silhouette emerged, leaving the whimsy that has also become synonymous with the Rochas name to make do with the fabrics and details - see, for example, that army green wool that looked felted but was cashmere, or the fur pockets. You could also spot it in way the flock of swallows - originally used as a print by Marcel Rochas in 1934 - had been remained here as embroidered appliques, most impressively scattered across a white chiffon and a sky blue dress. And the shoes, of course – classic Mary Janes with block heels covered in fur and spiky sequins.
The new silhouette - the stronger shoulders, the cinched-in waists, the pussycat bows at the done-up collars, the slight flare at the skirt that let the roomy coats do all the loud talking, those lovely frilly sweetheart necklines – still had an air of awkwardness about it that, purposeful or not, makes Rochas stand out. Whereas Dell’Acqua’s predecessor, Marco Zanini, was pretty deft at adding just the right dose of 'young girl trying on her mother’s clothes' in his designs, Dell’Acqua isn’t so. He’s better at playing grown-ups and seeing as a certain someone just turned 90 perhaps it’s time to do just that.