Pin It
Simone Rocha AW16
Backstage at Simone Rocha AW16Photography Chloé Le Drezen

Simone Rocha’s twisted take on motherhood

For AW16, her first collection since giving birth, Rocha continues her subversion of femininity – this time twisting the codes of matron smocks and nursing bras

Simone Rocha has always been about subverting girly, saccharine codes and the traditionally feminine. In her hands, the ladylike and prim become laced with a rebellious, punk spirit and a sense of delicious perversity. Yesterday evening, she applied all of that dark poetry to her latest subject: motherhood. More precisely, Rocha herself becoming a mother for the first time in November last year. Stepping out to Timber Timbre’s creepy ‘Swamp Magic’ – the could-be disembodied soundtrack to a beautiful nightmare – the girls cut eerie Victoriana silhouettes in apron-style dresses, big, enveloping shapes and 1950s matron smocks with massive pockets, brought on by Rocha’s recent stay in hospital with her baby daughter. 

“It was all about this idea of swaddling and mothering,” Rocha said backstage, wearing a Carrie Bradshaw-style necklace spelling ‘mum’ in swirly gold letters. “This whole building and growing of things.” Whisper-thin long, fetishised gloves referenced hospital versions, bringing “a surgical feeling to the romance,” while oversized nighties and dressing gowns spoke of an intimate sphere. “Sitting around your house?” Rocha offered with a laugh. It was deeply personal – motherhood laid bare with nude, completely sheer tulles and Rocha’s signature cutouts that now seemed to take on a completely different meaning, echoing the openings in nursing bras. The big, furry bags were like the one the stork brings the babies in. 

“It was all about this idea of swaddling and mothering... This whole building and growing of things” – Simone Rocha

But everywhere, the sweetness was balanced carefully with something that wasn’t. Red Swarovski strands dripped from the ear down the collarbone like blood and necklaces were snapped in two, dangling precariously like the threads that hung from hemlines everywhere. “It was all this idea of unravelling,” Rocha explained. The whole thing was both dreamy and unnerving – which is probably what it feels like to have a baby for the first time – and it also felt kind of witchy in places: pointy shoes, web-like knits sprouting dark leaves and flowers, frayed black silhouettes. Which made perfect sense, really: historically, witches were wise women... Or midwives.