Simone Rocha’s Winter collection is called Winter Roses and unfolds in an emotional crescendo, underlined by the strident and rhythmic soundtrack in the background. It is the story of a hidden fragility, protected from the surrounding world, not in an oppressive or possessive way, but rather in a “motherly” one. The first looks of the show are indeed dominated by the black leather of the biker jacket and the trench coat, shaped at the waist and on the sleeves, with slipped shoulders adorned with ruffles: they protect the models as if they were modern armour. Then, as we progress throughout the collection, the first delicate elements make their way to the front: tulle, lace, large three-dimensional roses applied to the coats. Floral embroideries emerge too, on black, military green, eventually on pink. The flowers invade the accessories as well and are painted on the raw pearls of the earrings.
Finally, delicacy triumphs in the asymmetrical and voluminous dresses of the finale, typical of Rocha and infused with that poignant beauty we are accustomed to. The high lace-ups give a sense of strength, but all the authority comes from the combination of those fragile fabrics (tulle, lace and embroidery) that, together, explode. The theme of protection is perfectly in line with the current times. Rocha became a mother for the second time during the lockdown, and the time spent with her eldest daughter increased with schools closed. The sharing of domestic spaces has certainly created a protected atmosphere, a closed and brilliant core within an extremely uncertain world. What matters, however, is that this closure did not mean, for Rocha, a movement of introversion – a personal closure in herself against the world. For Rocha, the harder elements (such as black leather, studs and shoes with tank soles) are necessary tools to offer a structure to her flowers, which are free to grow and invade, with colours and scents, the world.
This openness to the world is also synthesized by the use of fabrics, which become more “tactile”, also thanks to the evident contrasts, which enhance the individual fabrics rather than flatten them into one single blend. For Rocha, this point is also essential from a communicative point of view. Since no one (or almost) could see the collection physically, it is necessary to work on the surfaces of the fabrics and recreate the tactile experience through the gaze. This is not easy, far from it, but in this case, it is certainly successful.
Cover image courtesy: Simone Rocha, by Andrew Nuding