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Pregnancy was the starting point of Simone Rocha’s AW16 collection. Having given birth to her first baby — Valentine — three months ago, the 29-year-old designer took inspiration from the trauma of birth and showed matrons’ gowns in anaemic shades of nude and delicate organza apron slips that evoked ideas of the Victorian hospital.
Frocks were overtly feminine, with pussy-bow fastenings and billowing layers. Often, they were sheer or else undone, their button-up backs left unfastened — straps slipping from shoulders. “Falling apart at the seams”, read the show notes; heavy black tweed dresses woven with a glittering lurex were left with raggedy, unfinished hems, and a dressing gown coat in a sugared pink hue had enormous blouson sleeves with a dropped hem that started low on the arm, adding a tailored slobbiness to a strict, formal coat.
There was an interplay with textiles — heavy furs were teamed with sheer slips, tweeds with organza. Lurex stoles were clutched tightly to bodies, and the plastic cording that made its first appearance last season was reworked with embroidery to provide a finish on oversized puffy pockets that were big enough to carry a baby in.
Models had heavy kohl-rimmed eyes, and a single drop earring. Their hair was pleated into a neat chignon and then messed up and pulled out to mimic a bird’s nest or tied in gauzy bows. Exhaustion may have inspired Rocha’s meditation on maternity, but this 41-look collection was creatively alert and typically stunning. Motherhood suits her very well.