Lonely Star

Lonely Star

Now that I'm back in London for a good fortnight or so – a vaguely long length of time considering how much travelling I've done this year – I've been wading through London Fashion Week folder from last season.  Supposedly I'm meant to be clearing out in preparation for the S/S 12 shows in September.  Now's the time though when nights are falling earlier, the weather is turning and appropriately, lush autumn winter stock is dropping into shops.  

John Rocha's beautiful gem of a store on Dover Street is looking particularly full and healthily stocked with layers of underrated romantic textures that creeped about the A/W 11-12 collection.  I know I've pulled the 'underrated' line about John Rocha before but honestly, I just don't see enough of his work shot, featured or otherwise.  When young guns rise in cycles (with Rocha's own daughter being one of them…), it seems we forget about their predecessors.  

Rocha is no deep dark secret in the industry.  His longtime collaborative work with Debenhams and more recently Waterford crystals have made him a household name and it is with those lucrative deals in mind, that makes rediscovering Rocha's artistry and dedication to craftsmanship in his own line deeply satisfying.  Despite his twenty years in the business, unlike his contemporaries' collections that are still shown in London (no names named…), there's still something that stirs me about Rocha's collections.  

Whilst being able to straddle a wide array of design fields (architecture, product, fashion, interiors), it is the tiniest details in his fashion work that draws you in.  For a tactile fiend such as myself, touching his  hand crochet, pressed wools, tinselled yarns, textured tweeds, loops of yarn as if doodled onto a dress and tightly packed smocking is a delight for the fingers as well as of course the wearing.  Weirdly my friend Anthony Vaccarello and Rocha both incidentally fell onto the work of Pierre Soulages as inspiration – both communicated their vision mainly in black with wildly different results.  In the case of Rocha, his pieces are weighted (physically and emotionally… if you'll allow me this bit of whimsy…) with texture that makes his shades of black quite difficult to capture on camera because there's a movement to them created by juxtaposing matt and shiny in varying formations.  The opening part of the show is almost overwhelmed with texture and in person, it's Rocha's craftsmanship and obsession with surface detailing that is impressed upon you.  

A big story for some was seeing Abbey Lee Kershaw open and close the show… I wonder if there's a personal style resonation as I see a lot of Rocha's pieces falling right into Kershaw's wardrobe in real life judging by her fleeting exits from the shows… 

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Moving onto the portion where the black is lit up by shades of nude, red and gold, ruffles that resemble little cherry blossoms adorn smocks, pantaloons and skirts that fall up and down in assymetry.  There's a touch of Comme about it all but with more of a sense of romance and wild abandonment.  Rocha also references the landscapes of Iceland.  Now that I've been there in person, I can definitely see Rocha's clothes flitting about the strange rock formations and eerily quiet wide open spaces.   

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I've already spotlighted the buckled platform bovver boots previously but obviously they need repeated pointing out.  Many buckles, a platform heel that is highly manageable and the bonus of walking around feeling like angst is something that is ok to carry around even when you're supposed to be 'over it'.  In silver or gold, they make you think of David Bowie which is always a good thing.  

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I always think there's something both old and new in Rocha's collections.  You might have seen some bits before and certain historical periods are recalled but you can never pinpoint it exactly and somehow Rocha rejigs things so that his shows are the hidden gem in London Fashion Week that perhaps don't get shouted enough about.

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You'll rarely see me in head to toe black but Rocha's mix of textures made me dig out a few pieces that attempt to edge close to his ways of making black look like there are a million shades in one colour, helped by a John Rocha tinsel headband and the pair of buckled boots which I've been beadily eyeing up since the show…

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(John Rocha tinsel headband, top embroidered with circles from Spitalfields market, Meadham Kirchhoff collar, vintage shirt underneath, Junya Watanabe PVC stripe skirt, John Rocha boots)

21 comments

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  1. Xyryl

    2011-08-19 at 12:24 AM

    Very black couture-y. BTW, I love Abbey Lee Kershaw! I liked the boots and the top and the tinsel band. It was nice of you to feature John Rocha. I didn’t know about him till you posted him on your site. It’s been very fun reading your posts, I find it very educational, exciting with a twist of mini adventures in it. 😀
    Fashion Speed Ms, Susie Lau,
    xoxo

  2. meep

    2011-08-19 at 12:46 AM

    John Rocha is actually one of my favourite designers, despite my tendency to just like things because they’re brightly coloured! 😀
    I have some luscious John Rocha cream brogues with a heavy black sole from RA 13, but they’re nothing compared to those boots! Damn! 😛

  3. Tassos P

    2011-08-19 at 1:19 AM

    I love your skirt and hat 🙂
    xoxoxo

  4. paola dal lago

    2011-08-19 at 7:17 AM

    i like the mix of textures!!

  5. Kazuko

    2011-08-19 at 7:52 AM

    i’m such a fan, and this collection is yet another reason. don’t understand why he doesn’t get more attention? anyway. you look absolutely fab – oh those boots… i’ve fallen in love with the sheer nude pants and golden boots.

  6. Lol

    2011-08-19 at 8:58 AM

    Totally under-rated! XX

  7. David_M_Watts

    2011-08-19 at 10:36 AM

    John Rocha is a true visionary and has for many years stayed below the ‘radar’. The fabrications, design and tailoring are outstanding and for knit development he ranks alongside Azzedine Alaia as one of the most talented designers in fashion today.

  8. Duck

    2011-08-19 at 10:42 AM

    This was one of my favourite shows from last season! I keep banging on about him but I guess nobody’s listening… And that beautiful shop on Dover Street just sits alone and empty half the time, whenever I go I’m the only person in! Still, it means I always have pieces nobody else has 🙂 Which reminds me, I am DEFINITELY going into store to check out the new collection tomorrow!!
    xxx
    Duck

  9. susie_bubble

    2011-08-19 at 11:04 AM

    David_M_Watts: You’re absolutely right but I do wonder why he isn’t lauded more often….
    Duck: I forgot to say, there’s an impressive rail of menswear there – beautiful coats and shirts that are covered in mohair crochet… there’s one shot of it in the post… and the price is not too bad considering the amount of handiwork!

  10. the style crusader

    2011-08-19 at 12:06 PM

    No way! I was at this show last season but couldn’t see the model’s feet! I didn’t even realize how incredible the shoes were! Ahhh, I love it. Seriously incredible. The textures in that outfit you’re wearing are incredible…

  11. Isabel

    2011-08-19 at 1:44 PM

    This is amazing – HOW have I not heard of it before? Those boots are everything I need.

  12. Olive

    2011-08-19 at 2:44 PM

    I really love your dress!!

  13. Cristina Suspiria

    2011-08-19 at 5:07 PM

    i love your headband and shoes

  14. thefashionguitar

    2011-08-19 at 9:52 PM

    I love the metallic details
    XO Charlotte
    http://www.thefashionguitar.com

  15. Beth

    2011-08-20 at 1:04 PM
  16. Themodejournal.blogspot.com

    2011-08-20 at 7:15 PM

    Nice collection, I had never heard of him before!

  17. The Editor

    2011-08-21 at 12:33 AM

    I think I will pay more attention to Rochas after reading this. Those photos show some amazing detail.

  18. Little Pop

    2011-08-21 at 5:56 PM

    Those boots have to be in next month’s vogue!! Little Pop loves how quirky and cluncky they are!! Someone could definitely festival charge with them on!!
    http://sew-clothes-of-love.blogspot.com/

  19. x

    2011-08-21 at 9:23 PM

    those shoe designs are look like Proenza Schouler

  20. XIronman

    2011-08-22 at 5:09 PM

    I dream of having a pair of those shoes.

  21. Duck

    2011-08-23 at 12:59 PM

    Susie: I went in on Saturday and was there for a good hour fondling everything and trying things on. I was *almost* tempted into buying one of the mohair jumpers – it was so beautiful – but it was also so delicate that I knew I’d trash it within a week and that would be ¬£300 straight down the drain. I did however find a fabulous black/grey snakeprint shirt they had in the backroom, and embarrassingly I also ended up leaving with the same headband as you! Let’s just avoid each other for the next few months lest we suffer the humiliation of matching headgear…
    P.S. Did you try on the insane crochet/lace/tinsel/Amish/old man hats they had for women upstairs? AMAZING but jeez, ¬£1000…
    xx

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