With an atmosphere of high church and dark velvet, stained glass windows and dense tapestries, the Simone Rocha show was rich in fabrics, colours and spirit.
It also had an artistic inspiration: Louise Bourgeois, she of the giant steel and marble spider sculpture named Maman. “I so admire her tapestries as well as the ones here,” said the designer, referring to the historic rooms of the Guildhall, where she held her show.
The effect was a dense presentation, a little mysterious as the early figures, framed in short, sculpted velvet dresses, gave way to others whose surface effects included brocade, devoré and gilding.
Occasionally the body was shown through chiffon and this transparency was reflected in the shoes, with heels of transparent baubles.
Then, finally, came colour, a pattern of roses breaking over the black, followed by plaids, checks and pretty pink clouds of tulle and chiffon with bunches of synthetic hair as added decoration. The finale was of scarlet tapestry dresses and a tailored cape.
It felt as though Simone had something deep to express, but that she could articulate it only in clothes, not words. In previous collections, it has been relatively easy to trace her childhood in Ireland or her father’s Asian background. For the Autumn/Winter 2015 season, the clothes seemed less innocent; more historical and religious.
But Simone’s great strength is that she has that particular creative gene that picks up threads of art and craft and turns them into clothes — her own singular look. This personal vision makes her work unique, yet wearable and appealing.