Scene setting: From Southwark Cathedral to Lancaster House, Simone Rocha has often staged her catwalk shows in storied locations. For S/S 2018, the designer looked to the law inns around Temple, where the grand Elizabethan interiors of Middle Temple Hall formed the backdrop to her latest outing, complete with oak panelling, coats of arms, marble busts and an oak double-hammer beam roof.
Mood board: The designer is known for her romantic and Victoriana inspired collections, which feature gauzy fabrics, lace, bow-details and ruffles, and Perspex-detailed accessories. For S/S 2018, she was inspired by the figurative paintings of Belgian artist and filmmaker Michaël Borremans, whose portraits evoke 18th-century artworks. The ruffled smocks, ties and button up details seen in his paintings were reflected in frilled and ruched silk dresses. Oversized broderie-anglaise smocks and net petticoats nodded to Victorian nightwear, while silk or see-through trench coats and blazers tightened diaphanous silhouettes at the waist. Floral details, seen in sparkling sequinned petals or hand-painted orange flowers denoted a flouncy femininity, one subverted by the unnerving details of red dolls – holding hands in chains – and stitched in glittery thread into the cascading frills of dresses.
Finishing touches: In recent seasons Rocha’s earrings, often imagined as trailing beaded designs, have become eagerly sought-after accessories. For S/S 2018, the designer amped up her offering, and models sported piled up rhinestone hair clips and dazzling drop earrings. A nod to the doll details in her ready-to-wear, crimson beaded earrings dangled from the ears and neck and beaded bows hung from gauzy ruffle detail dresses. Sinister or saccharine? Spots of blood or spots of jam? This ambiguity emphasised the uneasy elegance of the collection.