>> In London there hasn’t been enough of those days when the sun is really bright but the air is bitterly cold and every surface you touch to the ground that you walk on feel “crispy”. My favourite kind of days. This seasonal rarity somehow coincided with my going to Hampstead Heath to play around with Simone Rocha’s stupendously good collaboration with J Brand, photographed by the talented young photographer Natasha Mann. Bear with me if I’m repeating myself but because of its proximity to my school, Hampstead Heath was my go to teen spot for pensive thinking. It’s where every “Woe is me!” thought was exaggerated and where every book (from Bronte to Mills & Boons borrowed from the library) came to life, because I was somewhere “wild” and “rural”. It seemed like the perfect setting to take Simone Rocha’s ruffled denim pieces that collectively mark another collaborative hit for J Brand.
It was all too easy to pair the familiar wildness of the Heath with the collection and Mann’s photographic eye that shoots with youthful longing in mind. Teenage rebellion and ruminative thoughts have underpinned so much about what Rocha’s work is about. It’s why her collections convey so much more depth than just the pretty fabrication that you see. Approaching the collaboration as someone who isn’t a “denim” person is precisely why Rocha’s signature palette black/red/sherbet treatment of J Brand staples is so evocative. The ruffles transferred from her mainline to denim creates a continuity that works. It means they’re pieces that are for non-denim people too. No wonder that on the day of launch of the collection, back in November at Dover Street Market, pieces were literally flying off the rails (for real – I’ve never seen anything approximating chaos inside the zen of DSM). The pieces are now available in-store at Selfridges and on J Brand’s webstore to fulfil the ruffled demand that Rocha has undoubtedly unleashed.
All photography by Natasha Mann