As she teams up with frequent collaborator photographer Colin Dodgson for her fourth self-published book, the Dublin-born, London-based designer reminds us that age ain't nothing but a number when it comes to beauty.
"It's for all types of women, and I really want to reflect that," Simone Rocha said backstage after her autumn/winter 17 show, The Marching Roses. "It's about inclusivity, something I really built my identity on, so I like to be able to share that." With the help of casting directors Piergiorgio Del Moro and Samuel Ellis Scheinman, Simone selected i-Conic models, faces and actresses from the 60s to 90s to walk alongside the catwalk queens of now -- Adwoa Aboah, Lineisy Montero, Mica Argañaraz and Yasmin Wijnaldum.
In an industry obsessed with youth, watching 72-year-old Jan de Villeneuve, 73-year-old Benedetta Barzini and 50-year-old Cecilia Chancellor make the collection's old world glamour their own provided a much needed reminder that beauty is cross-generational. It was a casting that reflected the fact that Simone's designs are intergenerational, worn by mothers, daughters, older sisters, and granddaughters; this was a show for everyone.
It was a moment to savour and thankfully, Simone turned to frequent collaborator, the American-born photographer Colin Dodgson to document it for her latest self-published book. "I just knew Colin's sensitivity, his light and human touch would capture all the different types of women's beauty in a very modern way," Simone explained over email ahead of the book's launch at her New York store this week. "We had all these inspiring women walking the show and just seeing them in the historical rooms was very special. This is about documenting their raw beauty in these opulent and historical rooms. If people take one thing away from this book, I hope they're able to reflect upon an inclusive idea of femininity."
As Simone continues to explore the contrasts of femininity, protection, armour and fragility, the history and ceremonial elegance of the venue worked as a the perfect backdrop to the military details, tactile textures and floral motifs of the collection. "The imagery was shot at Lancaster House, the autumn/winter 17 show venue, on the day of the show," Simone adds. "It had been my show home for the last few years and I wanted to document that."
Text Steve Salter
Photography Colin Dodgson