Simone Rocha’s edgy femininity shines at London Fashion Week
Fashion Editor Deirdre McQuillan reports from London on the opening catwalk shows
The 66th London Fashion Week ramped up into full gear at the weekend with starry shows from two independent female designers: Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard lead the way for spring summer 2018 with their singularly womanly visions.
Dublin-born Rocha’s show, which was held in the historic 16th century surroundings of Middle Temple in the heart of London’s legal quarter, offered her most feminine collection to date with its floral embroidered tulle skirts, slipper satin bias cut dresses trimmed with ribbons, ruched smocks and double breasted coats edged with lace.
“I was thinking about innocence and naïveté”, she said backstage to a throng of well wishers, afterwards recalling the childish thrills of playing with dolls and little girls dressing up in their mother’s clothes. Her parents John and Odette stood nearby in an embrace while Skeeter Davis’ The End of the World closed the show.
The collection contained many of the familiar Rocha flourishes and edgy femininity that attracts customers of all ages; exquisite embroideries, the love of flowers expressed in floral printed skirts, shapely floral print Victorian dresses and others with overlays of sequinned tulle and ruching.
These offered counterpoints to sleek double breasted coats with lace and pearl decor.
Notable too were the accessories, the pearl earrings and red crystal hairpins, shoes beribboned in red silk, white lace flats and sexy black silk platforms. As always with Rocha there was something for everyone.
Molly Goddard was equally playful. “My doctor told me to watch my drinking. Now I drink in front of a mirror” were her cheeky show notes.
Like Rocha, there was a similar emphasis on craft, but expressed in a more lighthearted, devil may care way with its baby doll tulle dresses accessorised with dirty black wellingtons and black hairbands worn by models with corkscrew red or blonde shoulder length hair.
Apron dresses, peasant skirts and blousy tops could have been straight out of Poldark, but she tamed silver sequinned skirts with taut fitting taffeta jackets in midnight blue or daffodil yellow in a very alluring and desirable way.
“We’ve got to have some sparkle for spring” whispered a friend afterwards.
At Jonathan Anderson, showing in Yeomanry House, a snakeskin clad Anna Wintour of US Vogue sat front row confirming the designer’s imprimatur and fashion status while his mother dressed in a more utilitarian duffel coat sat behind.
The 33-year-old Northern Irish designer who is also creative head of Loewe the Spanish luxury house, has become an international success with a workforce of 70 people. On Tuesday next (September 19th) he releases a 33 piece collection for Uniqlo, the Japanese conglomerate, featuring tartans, rugby stripes and cable knits.
His mainline collection was also more commercial than usual with its plunge neckline tunics, bra stitched tops, long figure hugging knits and dresses fashioned from tea towel linens with the familiar cotton stripes bearing his name and made by John England in Fergusons in Banbridge.
His new takes on espadrille desert boots were worn with everything though it was disconcerting to see some excessively thin models on the catwalk.