Simone Rocha’s ethereal vision for Spring/Summer 2020 found its home in the crumbling, wood-floored theatre of Alexandra Palace — a Victorian building in North London, first built in 1875 and affectionately dubbed Ally Pally by locals. In this ancient setting, far removed from central London, Rocha immersed her audience in a world of folky nostalgia where her meticulous dedication to craft was met with her loyalty to upholding fantasy.
For inspiration, Rocha looked to the Celtic tradition of Wren Day when Irish Wrenboys would dress up in straw masks and “go knocking on doors, kind of like trick-or-treaters.” Models appeared with wren feathers painted on their foreheads, smock dresses were embellished with straw sashes, and rustic floral prints echoed the Delft ceramics and tablecloths found in the Irish countryside. Signature Rocha motifs also returned in whimsical proportions: pouf sleeves, full skirts, delicate, rounded silhouettes made of luminous textiles and sheer organza amplified in detail and construction. There were new pearl-drop earrings and crystal headbands, and raffia crochet detailing that mimicked the shape of a birdcage. The emotional elements of Rocha’s designs also intensified in this collection (perhaps partly due to the Irish chorus soundtrack in the background), painting a richer image of doll-like innocence and dark romance.