Simone Rocha impresses with strong feminine vision

Reworking of girly details and sharp tailoring offer fresh edge and resonance

Models present creations during London Fashion Week. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Models present creations during London Fashion Week. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters


Given the growing international adulation for designer Simone Rocha, it was perhaps not surprising that she chose a place of worship, the venerable St Andrew church in Holborn (designed by Christopher Wren), as a venue for her latest collection and organ music for its opening crescendo.

Show notes referenced “The Flowery Years”, a Chinese metaphor for the fleeting time of youth, beauty and love as both a creative starting point and a tribute to her Chinese heritage.

In the event, it was another impressive display of her strong feminine vision and modern romantic spirit. From the first ladylike and desirable black satin dresses and coats, their curvy hems trimmed with black marabou to the bright floral cheongsams with appliquéd rosettes and more risqué transparent ensembles, it showed how powerfully and artfully she could rework girly details such as feathers and lace or tailor tulle into trenchcoats and trouser suits for a fresh edge and resonance.

If her fluffy slides and lace-edged shades were cheeky, her use of intricate crochet on sheer dresses was a poignant reminder of her father’s craft and handwork sadly no longer at London Fashion Week. The show was dedicated to her former tutor, the late Louise Wilson OBE.

Fashion Week ended yesterday on a high note with two other memorable shows; one from Anya Hindmarch who not only knows how to make witty handbags, but who has a flair for imaginative presentations. This one featured revolving seating for guests while boiler-suited models twirled in giant fairground teacups parading the designer’s latest clutches, satchels and featherweight Eburys, the bags adorned with bright graffiti motifs and neon handless.

London-based designer Osman, who is stocked in Brown Thomas and is carving a name for his luxurious fabrics and architectural shapes, sent out ink-blot print jumpsuits and sweet dresses lavishly embroidered with pearl beading, a motif replicated on the lovely soft leather boots and sandals made for the show by Manolo Blahnik.