By: Emmie Twombly
Simone Rocha is young, bright and is quickly establishing herself as one of London’s rising fashion stars. The former Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Diana Vreeland may have said it best, “The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.” Simone Rocha has just that. A creative mind and unique wit that produced her S/S 2012 collection based on Louise Bourgeouis, a renowned French-American artist and sculptor and words. As a writer and lover of art history I was impressed that she was able to combine the two to create an effortlessly cool boy-meets-girl signature style. It’s modern and strong, yet romantic. It also comes as no surprise that even Lady Gaga is a fan as she was gracing the pages of Elle UK donning my favorite piece from the spring collection, the sheer green beauty dress.
After learning of her allure to Louise Bourgeouis, I couldn’t help but allude to my favorite book, “Just Kids” by Patti Smith about her evolution as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe’s highly controversial and often provocative photography. Mapplethorpe the photographer was also Patti Smith’s partner from 1967–1974, photographing flowers, especially orchids and calla lilies, and celebrities, including Andy Warhol, Deborah Harry, Richard Gere, Peter Gabriel, Garce Jones and the iconic photograph that appears on the cover of Smith’s first album, Horses. A very special friend who is an incredible photographer gave me the book as I embarked on a life and career in New York City hoping my writing would evolve and matter. Mapplethorpe took a portrait of Louise Bourgeouis in a fur coat, which was the inspiration behind Simone Rocha’s precise tailoring on the fur sleeves of her coats of her A/W 2011 collection. Her collections have shown her growing confidence that will make her a true designer of substance and style. I know Patti Smith would have admired her work as she “preferred an artist who transformed his time, not mirrored it.”
Louise Bourgeouis was also known for her large spider sculpture, the Maman, which stands more than nine metres high and is a steel and marble sculpture. Her work in the late 1990’s began using the spider as a central image in her art, which alluded to the strength of her mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection. Louise Bourgeouis said “The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” It is no wonder that Rocha can relate to Bourgeouis as an artist and she specified her mother being one of her main supporters.
Simone Rocha is clearly wise beyond her years. At 25 years old she is laying a solid foundation to make her mark in fashion and art. Citing a special woman in our art history, such as Louise Bourgeouis is enough for me to label her as a “Woman to Watch.” She is someone I’m excited to watch evolve and it’s not because her dad is the famous John Rocha but due to the fact that she is fashioning her own path.
Simone Rocha was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1986. In 2008 Simone graduated with a BA in fashion from The National College of Art and Design, Dublin. In 2010, Simone graduated from the fashion MA at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London. Her graduation collection was presented as part of the Central Saint Martin’s MA collections during London Fashion Week.
All images: Fall/Winter 2012-2013 RTW Collection
Regarding your footwear—a collection of Perspex, pony skin and leather brogues—how did you decide to prop them up on a sharp clear wedge?
I wanted to modernize them and make them lady-like. I love the tradition and masculinity of a classic brogue, but elevating this into a high heel makes it fresh.
What was the thought process behind your color-scheme?
For color I was drawn to fresh pink and green, black and white, and shine because of a Louise Bourgeouis quote.
What is your favorite time in fashion?
Who are your ideal muses?
Real people with their own identity.
Where do you get your support?
My Mom and friends.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Also through friends, Ireland, galleries and parks.