Simone Rocha is one of London’s brightest new talents. We've already told you that, remember? Her Spring / Summer 2012 show last September drew a major fashion crowd, Lady Gaga is a big fan, she’s blazing a fresh trail with minimalism – which certainly stands out amongst our brilliant London print gang - and with her fine fashion heritage (her Dad is John Rocha, peeps), there’s a major buzz around this little lady pre-London Fashion Week. Simone’s collection is dropping in store at the legendarily cool Dover St Market right now, so we thought it high time for a good ol’ catch up…
Grazia Daily: Fashion East has paved the way for many a great name to hit the wider fashion spectrum and now after your first standalone show during LFW and your SS12 collection dropping in store at Dover Street Market– what could possibly be next?
Simone Rocha: It's been an extremely busy but a great year! So much has happened and I feel so lucky to be able to show during LFW and of course for the current collection to be stocked at DSM. It’s a designer’s dream come true! Coming up I will be showing my A/W12 collection on-schedule as part of NewGen in Somerset House - so I’m working full time on the new collection.
GD: With your fashion heritage it’d be easy to assume you would automatically head into this business and in particular, fashion design, but did you ever want to do something totally and utterly different? And when did you start to get into fashion design?
SR: I have always been interested in design as I have been around it all my life. Both my parents are in the industry and I’m lucky enough to have always been exposed to great design, art and photography. I started going to shows when I was a kid and working in my Dad’s studio from 15, but I think I started to take it seriously when I went to the National College of Art and Design in Dublin when I was 18.
GD: What does it feel like when you see people wearing your clothes?
SR: It's by far one of the best parts of being a designer. During my first show with Fashion East for SS11 I was just happy that people watching were wearing my MA collection. But seeing real people in my clothes is amazing because you can see how the pieces become part of their personal style and they style them in ways I’d never have thought; whether it’s on Lulu Kennedy (founder of Fashion East) or my mum! Also seeing people I don’t know at all in the clothes is a real buzz - the fact they chose to buy it and not because they are mates is really cool.
Lady Gaga wearing Simone Rocha in London
GD: Lady Gaga has been seen in your collection twice – what did it feel like to see someone who so carefully plans their outfits pick out your line? And what do you think about the way she wore them?
SR: It was a total surprise! I never dreamed that could happen especially so soon after the S/S12 show! Today all eyes are on her and her fashion choices so it was exciting that she stepped out in one of my favourite looks from the collection, I think she wore it well with the hint of mint green against the delicacy of the white lace dress and crepe de chine skirt with lace edge really suited her!
GD: Is there anyone else who you’d love to see wearing your clothes?
SR: Louise Gray, Celestine Cooney, Patti Smith, Chloe Sevigny, Lucy Chadwick, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Claireban Coffey, Sofia Coppola, Odette Rocha (my mum) – not many, ha! To me, just a mix of women who have their own personal style whether they are family or friends or in the public eye or not.
GD: The little lace glove sandwiched into layers of a handbag had all of the Grazia girls cooing on the FROW, where did that idea come from?
S: It was a development from the lace-trapped plastic jacket which as inspired by one of my favourite artists Louise Bourgeois’ sculptures. And the reason Iused a lace glove is because it's a play on the idea of a 'hand' bag. It came to me late one evening in the studio so I thought why not!
GD: Was it beyond difficult to work with fabrics like plastic? Sounds tricky…
SR: Yes it was a challenge, but I knew it was right to use that material for this collection.We worked around it by treating it like leather.
GD: You’ve said before that your favourite decade for inspiration is the 1800s, but your clothes feel so modern. How do you adapt and use your influences?
SR: I love the volume, panelling and history of the 1800s, and I find it exciting to make it modern. It's about taking something classic and historical and contrasting it with something real and gritty to create something fresh. So while I’m researching the1800s, I’ll probably be looking into the 90s at the same time!
GD: And how do you wear your own clothes? How much does the look change from catwalk to your closet?
SR: Man, I’m definitely scruffier then how you see the collection coming down the runway! I’ll always wear one of the coats or blazers day to day and the brogues for meetings but more often than not team it with my runners (shell toe Adidas) or mixing staples from the collection with vintage pieces or from John Rocha.
GD: Any finally, any hints as to what we can expect and look forward to at LFW this coming February? We’re excited…
SR: Ahh… I always keep this very close to me right until the very end as everything always changes last minute - so I’m afraid you will have to wait and see, sorry!