Strength and Fragility: See Simone Rocha’s S/S21 Collection

Pin It
Simone Rocha Spring/Summer 2021 SS21 interview
Simone Rocha Spring/Summer 2021Photography by Andrew Nuding

Simone Rocha presents a new film capturing her Spring/Summer 2021 collection and shares the thought process behind this collection, which is all about feminine strength

Like nearly all designers, Simone Rocha had to abandon the idea of a traditional runway show this season, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is sad, particularly in Rocha’s case, for to be at one of her shows was to be in the presence of beauty. They could always be relied upon to offer a brief respite from the drabness and dreariness of the world we occupy. But the show must go on, in some form at least. Today, Rocha presented her Spring/Summer 2021 collection via a film released online and on social media.

While the events of the past six months have been traumatic, marked by confinement and social upheaval, they have fed into Rocha’s new collection in ways that can only be described as positive. For example, the designer says that creating in isolation resulted in a “deeper exploration of identity” for her and her team – “it feels personal,” she says. “I can feel the hand in every piece.”

All of Rocha’s signatures are present: the crystals and the pearls, the silk and the satin, the embellishment and the embroidery. However, this season there is a particular sense of strength to the collection, a feminine strength. It’s there in the way that the fabric is wrapped around the models, enveloping them, protecting them from the elements, physical or otherwise. It’s there in the strings of pearls that wind, lattice-like over their heads and shoulders, the harnesses that cover their chests and the billowing sleeves and legs that cover their limbs. It’s as if they’re clad in some divine, feminine vestments.

Here, we share Rocha’s S/S21 film and its accompanying lookbook, which is photographed by Andrew Nuding and styled by Robbie Spencer. Alongside them, the designer shares the thought process behind the collection, touching on the inspirations, the emotions and what she hopes it projects.

“This collection is about comfort and security in the extreme. I wanted to create something signature and significant. I was looking at identity, personality, the provocative and a suggestive intimacy.

“[My main references were] the female form, the body. I was looking at a work by Richard Prince and Bettie Kline ... That then brought me to the idea of the form and body and how it was also portrayed historically.

“This season it was about finding the balance in the sobering and exploding, pragmatic and foreboding, personal, provocative, suggestive intimacy and excavating. [I was trying to evoke] strength, fragility, understanding, stillness and resolve.

“It has been very interesting [designing this season] ... The collection was developed originally in isolation – so there was a deeper exploration of identity from me and my team and I think you can feel that in the work, it feels personal, I can feel the hand in every piece. [I think the events of the past six months] has made the collection more focused, more developed in the hand and more considered in every way. 

“I do love a show – the finality of the final moment – but as a creative I have found it exciting and challenging to be showing the collection in a new way, translating all the emotion of the collection into a new space. Stripping back to the bare bones so the focus is on the collection in the beautifully stark setting of Hauser & Wirth in London.

“I think we are all craving security in clothes, wanting pieces with thought and a long-lasting quality. [I hope this collection] projects a feminine strength.”