Enabling consumers to buy more intelligently is one of the cornerstones of Carmen’s retail vision, and sharing the stories behind the products was one of the ways CoutureLab helped give items value and meaning, and in doing so inherent longevity. So when a designer’s collection centers around very personal inspirations it particularly resonates with us, as did Simone Rocha’s latest offering which she showcased earlier this week at London’s Lancaster House.
Favoring a bold, conceptual silhouette, the Dublin-born designer has tended to draw on her Celtic roots to inform her unique aesthetic. But this season, it was her father’s family in Hong Kong that provided the inspiration, and the religious rituals that bring her extended family together. “I was thinking about Qingming, the Chinese equivalent of the Day of the Dead, when everyone goes up the mountain in Hong Kong to clean their family’s gravestones. I was there this Easter when we went up to visit our grandparents,” she told Vogue’s Sarah Mower.
A predominantly sombre palette was punctuated with shots of Chinese red. Delicate yet vibrant floral embroidery, inspired by the carnations families carry to the graveyards, adorned Rocha’s signature voluminous styles as well as veiled, broad-brimmed hats, designed to emulate the elaborate hairstyles of the Tang dynasty. And it was antique paintings of Tang dynasty beauties that served as prints or informed the hand-drawn embroideries that featured on lace-covered dresses.
Texturally, Rocha didn’t disappoint. Layers of tulle, long trailing lace veils, heavy flower brocades and bejeweled black bibs peppered the collection, and the model’s feet were encased in feathered or sparkling flats.