A fine romance: Simone Rocha woos New York with her first stateside store
London-based fashion designer Simone Rocha has opened her first US retail space at 71 Wooster Street in Soho, surrounded by neighbours like Céline, Chanel, Thakoon and Byredo. ‘This neighbourhood is perfect for my label, because there are lots of very interesting people within it,’ Rocha explains. ‘It’s creative as well as being commercial, so it really felt like the right fit for me.’
‘I wanted a space that was filled with my inspirations, but also somewhere that the collections could evolve,’ Rocha says of her approach to the 2,400 sq ft space, which she conceived with the help of her father, the fashion designer John Rocha. Chalky-white rose cornices of her own design outline the interior walls, which are complemented with Pae White-designed matte white chandeliers, evoking both a sense of whimsy and romance.
Furnishings are a mix of the classic and contemporary. A cashier’s desk comes carved from a huge block of pink onyx, while chairs are crafted in Italian crema marfil marble, designed by John Rocha, or come in Joe Colombo’s mid-century Kartell design, in white wood and cream leather.
The store’s cream and white colour sceme includes chairs designed by John Colombo and chandeliers designed by the artist Pae White
A white cage also acts as a display case, which will rotate looks from Rocha’s collection. Perspex plinths also showcase footwear, accessories and jewellery. ‘I always work in Perspex, so it’s a nice way to house the collection,’ says Rocha, whose transparent heeled shoe designs have become synonymous with her material-focused aesthetic.
Once housing an art gallery, Rocha has incorporated her own love of art into the space. A geometric beeswax sculpture set inside an acrylic cube, greets visitors at the store’s entrance, created by the Chinest artist Ren Ri. A 1982 collage by Robert Rauschenberg, complete with Chinese characters, features alongside 25 silkscreens created by Louise Bourgeois, made up of abstract red shapes against a white background.
Other hints of red reflect Rocha’s own runway history. Red arches are displayed in the front windows of the space, a reference to her Southwark Cathedral show venue for S/S 2017. ‘It just really feels like the right time to show my vision all under one roof,’ Rocha says.