Dear Shaded Viewers & Diane,
Simone Rocha’s clothes have an almost cryptic quality to them. When watching her collection float by, you get the impression there’s something more to them than meets the eye, something secret that you’ll never quite be let in on.
It may just be the setting of the shows, as for SS17 we were taken to Southwark Cathedral – a building that’s early origins are not quite understood by historians. Some say it was founded by a woman, some say a man – it’s history is blurred by changes in historical opinion & shadows of patriarchal tendencies.
A little like the long & mysterious evolution of the cathedral, this season individual pieces seemed to have been constructed, then deconstructed, then again constructed in a never ending work in progress. Rocha’s collection felt almost like a tribute to David Galenson’s theory of experimental innovation, that genius is a development that doesn’t always have a clear finish line & doesn’t have to; that works of art do not have to reach a sensible conclusion.
It was, however, from another painter that Rocha looked to. The Potato Diggers (1912) by Paul Henry (Irish born, like Rocha) provided a colour palette – maroon & mustard are set against a canvas of black & white. Sacks are slung across backs & shirts & cardigans wrapped around the waist, as though preparing for a day in the fields.
Two prominent fabrics have something in common with the painter, who lived in Paris & London before moving back to Ireland where he painted the body of his work. Poplin (from papelino, made in France) & broderie anglaise – two fabrics with both French & English connotations.
Perhaps I’m reading in to it too much but there is something about Simone Rocha that makes you want to. Read between the stitches & there may be stories to tell.