At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I've never been a lover of Simone Rocha's designs. I can appreciate them, but I have never fallen for them as so many of my peers and colleagues have. The Irish designer's signature ruffles and lace, over-sized shapes and baby doll silhouettes have never resonated with me. I like clean lines and tailoring. At her LFW AW18 show this morning, Rocha's collection incorporated all the elements that have made her a fashion heavyweight (Edward Enninful, Suzy Menkes, Alexa Chung and Lorraine Candy were just some of the heavy hitters present this morning), but my initial impression was that there was something there for me too; for a woman who isn't drawn to lace and tulle and the sheer drama of it all.
A standout piece for me was a red patent leather off-the-shoulder coat with cut-out sleeves. Firmly belted at the waist, it was both sexy and modern. Rocha didn't deny her love of ruffles, incorporating them into the sleeve detailing of the coat, but the fabric and off-the-shoulder cut were what dominated for me, both of which I loved. Plaid featured heavily in this collection too. A body-skimming midi dress with long sleeves was simple and chic and will prove to be a workhorse of an item in any woman's wardrobe I would imagine. Again, there was a sexiness to this piece, be it understated, that I had never associated with Rocha. It swung beautifully around the model's hips as she moved determinedly but swan-like through the hall.
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I can always be won over by a great knit, however, and the black chunky sweaters that swung nonchalantly over a couple of models' shoulders looked like weekend wardrobe staples. In contrast, the gold brocade floral trouser two piece appeared nothing short of regal. Taken apart, I could see myself adoring wearing those pants, but with a masculine-looking shirt to counteract the dramatic bows, which Rocha had added to the fronts of the legs.
Picture credit: Getty
In previous shows, Rocha has chosen an austere approach to hair and make-up but this year, both were ethereal and beautiful. There was an elegance to the entire collection, helped undoubtedly by the exquisite surroundings of Goldsmith's Hall. If you already love Simone Rocha, this collection will reinforce that. And if, like me, you haven't yet been won over, AW18 might prompt a rethink.
For more from Simone Rocha's AW17 runway show, see the IMAGE Instastories