Distilling the elements of femininity for Simone Rocha often involves a Gothic imagination (i.e. THOSE ‘Blood Drip’ earrings), and her Spring Summer 2021 Collection isn’t without exception: intelligent dressing set the sobering showcase as de rigueur for the Irish Chinese designer. Against the backdrop of an unprecedented defined year, Spring is a state of being, a consciousness – and Simone is proving that once again. It is raw and tentative.
Trickling down to the fashion community, hesitation was felt with every stitch. But what was created out of austerity was an unforgettable moment of creative resilience. Enter the Dublin-born Rocha, whose grounding approach to SS21 is a foreboding, emotional reminder that the tide always turns. Simone (though she prefers a runway showcase) opted for a digital display and physical presentation.
And her collection typifies a Rocha’ed signature: Metamorphosis. Each one of Simone’s collections is a graduation of its former. Cycles of rebirth echoed her SS21 collection.
It was an acapella of a shadowy-lit assemblage. A spiritual awakening. Here’s how.
Simone’s collection was a code of contrast: delicate and structured. Beaded crop-tops were armour to a poplin co-ord and silk button-down set. Airy organza coats were etched with what-fairytales-are-made-of castle landscapes. It’s in these details the designer quietly reveals herself.
Ornate jacquard was a structural and decorative foundation to scoop neck dresses and coats. Rococo-esque detailing such as voluminous draping was on display. For instance? Take the modern open-vent polonaise ensemble: Heavily embroidered material is gathered to form a shape akin to a puffball, emphasizing the hips.
With Simone: It always involves ribbons. But too much is never enough. Tulle dresses were given a bondage-y upgrade with the silky fabric. Footwear was prima-perfect with pointe-style shoes. The must-have? Simone took things to new heights with a part-ballerina, part-kawaii girl platform-soled shoe, which was a ‘pointe’ of difference to the regal ensembles. It’s a maddening fantasy with all the right moves.
The ultimate personifier of pragmatic femininity? Embellished breast outliners. Hero for the SS21 collection.
Makeup artist Thomas de Kluyver kept an ethereal approach to Spring beauty throughout. Victorian-era outdoorsy-like blush was applied high on the cheekbones as the under-eyes were kept pale & dialled-down with a (couple or more!) flush of white powder. Pigmented hues such as creamy orangey-tang & rouge were graced across the tip of the nose and cheeks with a soft yet controlled hand—a better-than-the-alternative face tune. Eyes were given an earthy sweep of emerald green shadow.
Hair was maintained at bob-length and coiffed into Hellenic-style ringlets by hairstylist Cyndia Harvey. The (literal!) crowning glory? Beaded bonnets of diamante and pearls were weaved in a mathematical, triangular fashion and were placed on the head with pin-curls poking through. Indeed, hair was as regal as modern.
The sum: It’s an alchemy of innocence & strength, an unbreakable combination that deeply appeals to the designer. As an ode to the Spring we lost, it was a poetic dialogue of re-discovery.
Stranger worlds could only be dreamt.
Photos by Jacob Lillis, Andrew Nuding for VOGUE, Simone Rocha