Simone Rocha has had a big year. She’s celebrating a number of firsts - her very own shop in London on the booming Mount Street, and the forthcoming birth of her first child. Recently, she’s been joking about suffering from ‘baby brain’, but no lack of focus or strange cravings were present on her S/S 16 runway. This was one of her strongest collections to date - one that solidified her skill for warped, if strangely prim, femininity but offered much new food for thought. The slinky silhouettes, cut low at the back and slender on the body, and the wayward, electric prints that almost resembled vintage fabrications felt new.
Sometimes it’s frustrating when critics obsessively focus on the family arrangements of female designers - if a male creative was about to become a father, few would mention it when analysing their work. But with Rocha you get the sense that her pregnancy has affected her designs directly, so it becomes relevant. She’s talked openly about unexpectedly finding out she was pregnant while in Japan, and how this up and down rush of emotions and mix of feelings pushed her towards offering something more, well, 'crazy'. That’s not to say this wasn’t focused, more that there was a certain urgency to it, a sense of looking closely at each silhouette, considering every detail, from tiny embellishments that shimmered on tights to the cross straps that decorated the front of many looks, protecting the heart and bust and creating a strangely strong veneer around otherwise soft, delicate pieces.
Rocha’s collections are always all about womanhood, but the new twists and turns in her own life have offered a whole new set of feelings and circumstances to be mined for inspiration. Many will draw parallels between the inclusion of sweet plastic macrame details and the plethora of baby pink (always a regular on the Rocha runway) and the forthcoming birth of Rocha’s daughter, but look beyond the obvious and the sense of new adventures and big responsibilities was present more in ethos than aesthetic. This was a show of strength - a sign of maturing and moving on to the next big thing.