While the fashion industry continues to adapt to a sweatpants-only world, Simone Rocha cannot be stopped.
The Irish-born, London-based designer’s Fall 2021 collection brings us back to the signatures that have earned her fame, praise and the chance to dress Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama. Featuring over-sized silhouettes, tulle, and an air of gothic romanticism, Rocha’s latest collection is a new take on her staple, feminine-punk look.
Rocha thinks of clothes “in a protective and practical way,” creating "fragile rebels," as she writes in her designer notes. Adorned with gravity-defying braids, models walked down a naturally-lit church with stained glass windows during the brand’s Fall 2021 show as the day turned from morning to dusk.
“I was really inspired by the idea of a winter rose,” she told the New York Times in an Instagram live, “contrasting the fragility of a petal with the harshness of the thorns.”
Especially in the context of creating a new collection during a pandemic, Rocha wanted to create pieces that would bring clarity and a sense of identity in a time of anything but.
“We all feel very kind of internal at the moment," she tells Vogue UK. "I wanted to look after that fragility, but give it a harder shell.”
Each piece in the collection features a mixture of textures, juxtaposing delicate details of tulle, ruffles and floral embroidery with harsher, leather motor jackets and chunky boots. Accessorized with heavy earrings and pearl-studded laces, each piece shows the progression between the harder exterior (with heavy, over-sized leather jackets) to the more delicate, tulle pieces where the embroidered flowers are holding on with leather harnesses.
Drawing from mixed Irish and Hong Kong heritage, Rocha has always molded vastly different contexts and images. Her newest collection is no exception. Dramatic silhouettes contrast with harsh accessories, pairing tulle with leather for a dark, romantic look.
The collection is further inspired by the uniformity and naivety of school uniforms. Featuring pinstripes and heavy collars paired with sculpted leather and floral embroideries, each piece is an interpretation of teenage rebellion.
Throughout the process, Rocha was highly aware of the medium via which her collection would be displayed. She knew the collection wold have to stand out both in person and online. She succeeded in making each texture and pattern feel tactile, bringing the piece past the screen.
Alongside her upcoming collaboration with H&M, Rocha continues to show versatility as a designer with ready-to-wear and couture pieces. Watch the full Simone Rocha Fall 2021 collection below.