Simone Rocha marches into her second decade in business with an enviable ability to cater for her many female customers.
There’s the young bride looking for an alternative wedding dress; the rocker who crushes on red vinyl biker jackets; the former punk who still holds a penchant for tough boots over transparent tulle; the girl who craves a romantic, fairy tale dress in virginal white broderie anglaise; and the woman who only wears black but prefers to do it with a deconstructed silhouette, attitude and beaded embellishment.
Rocha’s womenfolk come from all age groups, life experiences and body shapes.
In her latest collection shown at London Fashion Week, the Dublin-born designer found lots of inspiration in motherhood, a theme she made her own with typical flair and ingenuity.
It’s a story told with personal insights. Rocha recently gave birth to her second daughter, Noah Roses, and for Spring/Summer ’22 she considered lots of elements of mothering, from embellished breasts and the very practical and welcome inclusion of dresses that button up the front for easy access when nursing.
It was from a very maternal place that she pieced together the silhouettes, fabrications and delicate detailing for which she is respected.
The 35-year-old considered christening gowns, communion dresses and, she said, the way children interpret and wear clothes.
Her catwalk show of 35 looks opened with a sumptuous white dress with horizontal bands of lace and satin ribbon worn with a regal pearl tiara that screamed modern bride.
Another feature of the collection was her puritan collars. Exaggerated, long and pointed over the body, they were worn wide over the shoulders and decorated dresses and coats.
The energies changed from all-white looks and rosebud prints to lace-trimmed nighties and nursing bras embellished with red crystal stones.
Some of the knitwear looked like it had been inspired by the concept of simple baby cardigans with satin ribbons threaded through.
There were chunky mohair cardis with honeycomb design in earth tones with dropped shoulder and ample sleeves of cascading Aran cables, from which a giant short tutu of tulle and lace suddenly sprang.
Lilac was a new hue in the Rocha colour arsenal and she used it to great effect.
Black coats featured side panniers of tinsel-embellished tulle springing from the sides and dresses had scalloped edges that brought the eyeline down to the hemline and on to the shoes – and this being Rocha, the footwear did not disappoint.
This is the woman who single-handedly made the pearl-encrusted brogue a thing of beauty, and for SS22, her shoes run from delicate satin ballerinas in red to thick-heeled platform boots in shiny patent leather, criss-crossed up to above the knee.
Famous for her signature use of broderie anglaise, the punched cutwork also features on the front of the boots and is interpreted on the thick-soled chunky white shoes.
Even her socks are sprinkled with a shower of seed pearls.
Last season, Rocha introduced black leather biker jackets, and she has explored the theme further, using shiny patents that deliver that “hard v soft” vibe when teamed with short sprouting skirts of tulle and embroidered lace.
The final look was heart-stoppingly cool, with a gold, tinsel-flecked tulle skirt under a long cream jacket with long flowing sleeves, signature pearl egg bag and long boots.
Rocha’s front row at the medieval church of St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London was packed and included Claire Foy and Alexa Chung.
Also attending the show were Simone’s partner, Eoin McLoughlin, their five-year-old daughter Valentine and her parents, Odette and John Rocha.
The after-show celebrations moved to Cafe Cecilia in Hackney, which Rocha’s brother, Max, opened recently and named after John Rocha’s late mother.
It truly was an evening celebrating motherhood from start to finish.