Spellbound by the Irish legend of the Children of Lir, Simone Rocha invited her audience to watch her fall collection emerge out of the atmospheric gloom of a medieval hall in London’s Inns of Court. There’s always some sort of dark tension running beneath the surfaces of the ostensibly pretty layers of her clothes. This time, as she related backstage, it arose from the traditional horror story of the four daughters and sons of an Irish king who were turned into swans by a jealous stepmother.
“It’s a really old fable that everyone in Ireland knows,” said Rocha. “The children become swans for nine hundred years, across three different lakes. And when they come back to human form, they pass away. I began loosely basing my narrative on that.”
Knowing the backstory, you could perhaps begin to detect the abstracted shapes of wings and feathers coming through the white flounces embedded in coats and take a visual hint from the crinolined buoyancy of skirts. Knitted balaclavas with crystal embroidery around the faces—cutely odd—might on second glance seem to take on the look of half human, half bird-head. A more direct clue, if you needed it, was in the embroidery of two pairs of swans on a semi-sheer tabard.
There were white swans, black swans, cygnets in mini-crinis and knitted knickers; both girls and boys. The Children of Lir were, after all, royal: these swans were duly decorated with jewels, studded with pearls, crystals and ruby droplets.
Rocha wasn’t really sticking to the letter of the legend. The truth is that she’s created her own language in design: her biker jackets, voluminous coats, big skirts, transparent voile lace-trimmed dresses layered over other dresses. The most stunning turn in the collection—something quite new and satisfyingly strange—came when she cut out the mid-section of a midnight-blue velvet dress, replacing it with a sheer panel with a view to the torso. It was beautiful. When the theme of the collection is forgotten, a daring design coup like that will magnetize Simone Rocha customers of its own accord.
(text excerpt from Vogue.com https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2022-ready-to-wear/simone-rocha,