London Fashion Week: Exquisite Simone Rocha display puts Irish stars on catwalk

Jesse Buckley, Olwen Fouéré, Charlene McKenna and Valene Kane model collection

Jesse Buckley modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week

Jesse Buckley modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week

 

Simone Rocha’s spring-summer 2020 show was staged at sundown on Sunday at Alexandra Palace, a restored Victorian building overlooking London that was originally opened in 1873 as the “People’s Palace”. 

Front-row guests included Jade Parfitt, the singer Paloma Faith, Jasmine Guinness and Anna Wintour as well as Rocha’s parents, John and Odette.

The Dublin designer sent a procession of Irish actors down the runway, including Jessie Buckley, Olwen Fouéré, Simone Kirby, Charlene McKenna and Valene Kane. The mix showcased the inclusivity of her clothes for women of all ages.

Jessie Buckley modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
Jessie Buckley modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
Charlene McKenna modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
Charlene McKenna modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
Acclaimed Irish actor Olwen Fouéré walks in the Simone Rocha show at London Fashion Week. Photograph: Simone Rocha
Olwen Fouéré in the Simone Rocha show at London Fashion Week
Valene Kane modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
Valene Kane modelling in the Simone Rocha spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week

Rocha, who recently opened her third store, in Hong Kong, chose the palace’s theatrical interior for a presentation that mined her Irish cultural heritage and echoed the faded interiors of old country houses in rural Ireland.

That made for a display of the most exquisite, ethereal dresses, layered and laced with prints of peeling wallpapers on silk, China blue and white prints, on ivory tulle, and patchworked organza redressed in the most heartstopping and fairylike ways.

As always the styling told its own story of the feminine spirit, the jewelled hairbands, the chandelier earrings, the pearl studding and frilled brogues along with those silhouettes – the sloped shoulder, puff sleeves and full skirts that define the exaggerated Victorian shapes and proportions that are her signature.

A new design from Simone Rocha at London Fashion Week 2019. Photograph: Simone Rocha
Simone Rocha's spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
One from Simone Rocha’s new collection. Photograph: Photograph: Simone Rocha
Simone Rocha's spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
A striking new design from Irish designer Simone Rocha at London Fashion Week 2019. Photograph: Simone Rocha
Simone Rocha's spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week
A new work from Simone Rocha dazzles London Fashion Week 2019. Photograph: Photograph: Simone Rocha
Simone Rocha's spring-summer 2020 show at London Fashion Week

It was the workmanship that really stood out in these beautiful shapes – lace, silk brocade, taffeta and raffia were layered, featherlike, one over the other, revealing and hiding at the same time.

“The level of work and detail that she went into this time was extraordinary,” her mother said after the show, a view echoed by Nikki Creedon of Havana, the sole Irish stockiest of Rocha’s line. “It was one of her best collections – and there was so much variety this season,” she said.

Tailoring fabrics, usually associated with dresses, showed in trench coats of camel taffeta, suits in silk brocade woven like upholstery, and dress coats with dropped frill shoulders. This collection, with its delicacy, richness and playfulness, demonstrated once again that Rocha has the power to sway the feminine heart in the most unexpected and emotional ways. A great collection.

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