Simone Rocha may be the daughter of the John Rocha, but rest assured, she’s become a designer in her own right. After studying at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, the Irish-Chinese designer went on to pursue a Master’s at the renowned Central Saint Martins in London. Her entrance into the fashion industry came in 2010 when she showed her first collection at London Fashion Week. She’s since acquired a few impressive distinctions, including the Womenswear Designer of the Year award at the 2016 British Fashion Awards, as well as being named Young Designer of the Year in 2014 by Harper’s Bazaar.
Rocha has become known her functionally feminine looks, which she often showcases with a garden concept in mind. Her designs routinely feature draping and adornments using materials like tulle and taffeta. In addition to showing her Fall 2019 collection at London Fashion Week, the designer has just dropped her first collection with Moncler, a line that shows off her signature feminine style through floral embellishments and subtly structured silhouettes.
Below, Rocha tells us more about her collaboration with Moncler and the influences behind her dreamy designs.
There’s an incredible video installation that complements your collaboration. What was the idea behind this film?
The film was an amazing opportunity to create a fully immersive atmosphere for the collection. It was a very collaborative process between myself and Tyler Mitchell, who directed it. We wanted the film to echo these feelings of utility and femininity, while also adding a narrative that created an eerie quality to the whole film.
I’d love to know a few people who you deem a “genius.”
I am constantly inspired by the work of Rei Kawakubo, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon, as well as my family and friends around me.
The theme of gardens and gardening is explored in your creations. Where does this passion stem from?
I love gardening at home and having flowers in the house. My favorite flower is the chocolate cosmos.
I wanted the S/S ’19 collection to lead on from the A/W ’18 collection—A/W ’18 was originally inspired by the concept of Mountain. My first collection for Moncler took inspiration from the Victorian mountain climbers of the 19th century. For S/S ’19, I wanted to explore another landscape and terrain, while still entwining the Simone Rocha femininity with the utilitarian practicality of Moncler. The ideas of gardening echoed the contrast of practicality and utility balanced with femininity and romance.
If you had to choose three of your favorite gardens around the world, what would they be? Why?
The Piet Oudolf garden at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. I really like the planter Tom Stuart-Smith. He has done a few gardens in England including Wisley, which is where we shot the film. Within London, the Chelsea Physic Garden is very beautiful.
What do you want people to feel when wearing your Moncler Genius collaboration?
Empowered and feminine.
Can you tell me about some of the fabrics you worked with?
It has been an amazing opportunity to explore the classic Down fabrication in new ways with the Simone Rocha aesthetic. It’s reimagined with modern femininity in volume, ruffles, and embellishment. Fabrication and how it is manipulated and developed is a very important part of the design process for me.