For Simone Rocha’s first in-person show since February 2020, before the pandemic halted the fashion industry, along with every other, in its tracks, the beloved British designer opted for opulence. On the final evening of London Fashion Week’s spring-summer 2021 season, Rocha gathered guests at the medieval church of St Bartholomew the Great, seating attendees, including Claire Foy, Alexa Chung, Nicola Coughlan and Francesca Hayward, in the pews of the dimly lit, gothic-look 12th century space.
As the music began, models with wet-look hair slowly sauntered down the middle of the church dressed in hoards of white poplin and lace, layers of tulle, offsetting the girliness with chunky knee-high boots. The detail was meticulous in each and every look. Beaded detailing extended from collar to cuff, and even the socks came fit with pearls. While some models donned crowns, others wore Rocha’s popular pearl hair clips.
Rocha noted the texture of the looks was important to her for her return to the runway. It was her way of welcoming back guests, who hadn’t come close to garments in the same capacity for going on 18 months, treating them to somewhat of a sensory overload in the process.
Rocha’s show notes allude to her inspiration being a personal one: motherhood. The 34-year-old recently gave birth to her second child, daughter Noah Roses, and she used the experience—baby teeth, lack of sleep, nursing—to influence her creations. Rocha’s other daughter, five-year-old Valentina, was present on the night, sitting eagerly in the front pews between her maternal grandparents, Odette and John, the latter of which introduced Rocha to the fashion world around the same age. The influence of mother and child was evident in the likes of nursing bras—some of them covered with jewels, in keeping with Rocha’s style—and dresses that open at the front and back to make nursing easier.
Rocha’s new collection is very much a nod to her last decade, with the addition of pieces that’ll see her—and other mothers—through to their next stage, fusing all of the things customers know and love about her girly but grunge label with new additions sure to be soon be sold out, if the fevered looks on guest’s faces as they stood from the pews to catch photos are anything to go by.