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Saturday 17 March 2018

Motherhood clearly suits Rocha as she swaddles London models in tulle

Bairbre Power Fashion Editor

Motherhood has proved exceedingly productive for Simone Rocha: her daughter, Valentine, was born last November and, with time off, the 29-year-old designer saw things with a new eye.

Even the experience of the maternity ward and its nightdresses informed the bewitching, floaty, sheer shapes Simone introduced to us to in her Autumn-Winter 16 (AW16) show on day two of London Fashion Week.

There were pink, dressing coat-style loose, belted coats, tulle aprons that a Victorian nurse might have worn, and stand-out, embellished breasts on her raw-edged tweed dresses.

To be honest, Simone's show 'had us at hello' as she opened her AW16 collection with a hugely covetable story of tailored tulles and tinsel tweeds.

There was no doubting the pressure Simone was under, because her acclaimed SS16 collection was widely trumpeted as her 'best ever'. Her response was to knock it out of the ballpark - well, the grand hall of one of London's finest mansions, actually.

She sent out a powerful retinue of 41 models with looks that catered for all eventualities, from the Gothic fan and fans of her pinks and reds, to the lover of ethereal, unstructured layers and the tweed aficionado who wants her metallic-flecked suit modern and sassy... and with a matching vanity bag and shoes too, please.

Captivated, we scoured the adorned fabrics and layered silhouettes. Glistening and knobbly tweeds worn with deep-pocketed, gold-embroidered tulle - and the look was masterly finished off with studded gold brogues, perspex heels and silver shoes with bevelled crystal heels.

The new mum swaddled, wrapped and enveloped with tulle, which is a very crowded 'space' in the fashion world at the moment as so many designers love it. But Simone has firmly made the medium her own, especially in her interpretation of Gothic romance. The addition of her delectable bags, funky, pretty shoes and crystal earrings added a further dimension to her powerful storytelling.

Spider-web metallic crochet emerged from under intriguing woolly jumpers, and a glossy faux-fur jacket with crystal buttons was the perfect foil for a delicate sheath in silver and black.

The nude tulle with silver-embroidered threads will send cool gals like Saoirse Ronan into paroxysms of desire. Watch that space.

Is it any wonder that Simone's name is bandied around as the designer reshuffle goes on at the big couturier houses in Paris?

Lanvin and Dior are the names that keep coming up.

Industry insiders have been speculating how Simone is a natural for progression to couture and her LFW show will have copper-fastened her reputation.

For AW16, JW Anderson, from Magherafelt, explored the notion of modern cocktail wear and playfully explored ruching, ruffles, flying-saucer-shaped capes and flippy hemlines. His models walked so close to the audience, they were practically sitting on their laps - but all the better to see his ribboned mules with rolling-pin heels.

There were mosaic, fish-scaled shoes, metal rivets, snaking zips, shiny green satin, modern neoprene and studded, three-leaf clover motifs.

Not that JW needs clover to bring him good luck: he was the British Fashion Council's womenswear and menswear Designer of the Year in 2015 - the first person to win both titles.

Irish Independent

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