Simone Rocha RTW Spring 2021

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What a luxury to get up close — although not too close, of course — to Simone Rocha’s creations with their rounded edges, exaggerated proportions and lavish pearl and crystal embellishments.

This season, due to stricter social distancing rules in England, Rocha staged a presentation at Hauser & Wirth art gallery on Savile Row instead of a show. Models spread out across the vast, sunlit space and occasionally swapped places to ensure that the guests who’d gathered round had a chance to see everything as closely as possible.

Rocha, who is forever looking at the female condition — in history, in society, inside and outside the home — explored identity, physicality, the human form and handmade things. She said the past few months under lockdown have been a time of “craving human interaction and touch,” and said she wanted to highlight craft and explore ideas of fragility and strength.

Simone Rocha RTW Spring 2021

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Her famously oversized, curving silhouettes came with handwork, monogramming and delicate embellishment — as in a First Holy Communion-style dress, its tulle skirt edged in white cotton ruffles and a specially commissioned broderie anglaise border with the designer’s initials, “SR.” The models — of a variety of ages, sizes and nationalities — wore earrings or necklaces with their own initials.

That special broderie anglaise wound its way around the collection, landing on the edge of a long, asymmetric white cotton shirt or the petticoats under a printed cape dress with big pouf sleeves.

More tactility came in a sheer, embroidered organza, toga-like dress that was crisscrossed with black ribbons; little pearl garlands strung across the bodice and hemline of a cloqué dress with a “Little Women” feel, and delicate crowns and latticework overlays made from garnet-colored beads.

Notwithstanding all the pearls, ruffles and tulle, this collection radiated power and old-world glamour. Hopefully, Rocha’s woman will have somewhere to make her big statement when this pandemic is finally over.

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