What a difference a half-year makes! The young designer reflects on a life changing six months in which she has seen grown her business, had a baby, moved house and opened her first store.
Inspired by pregnancy, a trip to Kyoto, and the erotic photographs of Nobuyoshi Araki, Simone Rocha's spring/summer 16 show was a shake-up for the senses that has lingered long after. Now after a whirlwind six months in which Simone has given birth, opened her first boutique and moved house, the collection is finally at home in her Mount Street world. Just a pearl's throw away from Marc Jacobs and Céline, Simone has made the double-decker space her own. From Janina Pedan's "little monster" tables to the preferred playlists picked by friends, the inviting space celebrates the craftsmanship, collaboration and sense of family that has always been so important to Simone Rocha.
Following its latest redesign, verse contained in the show notes has been brought to life through her on-going collaboration with set designer Janina Pedan with an installation inspired by photographer Jacob Lillis. A car-crash of colour, texture and contrasts that delights in the cryptic clues of "Kyoto, Kinbaku, the moss forest," "rope, bow, ties, bound, found" and "flowers and cars." As we lose ourselves in the new space, Simone looks back on a life-changing six months.
As the store approaches its six month anniversary, how do you think it has changed Simone Rocha?
It has given the label legs, it has grounded the label literally. Seeing the collection as a whole on the shop floor I now pay much more attention to the details. So every garment is as good as it can be like a fine knit or putting together a special book to celebrate opening a shop. It made me realise I wanted everything in the hand to be the best it can be.
And on a personal level?
It makes me want to be brave in my work and push the collections forward each season. To make great clothing I need to be challenging myself, work hard and make things interesting. Personally it's been an insane 6 months as I just had a baby, moved in with my boyfriend, opened a shop and had a show. LOL!
Wow, how hectic is your world right now? How are you balancing everything?
You become very aware of your time! So every minute counts either on the collection in the studio or at home :) ALSO I have an amazing team who are a real part of the process who kept the machine moving while I was having my baby and I live very close to my studio!
What does the store mean to you? How conscious are you of using the Mount Street space as an opportunity for people to delve deeper into the Simone Rocha world?
The store is a very personal project to me. I am an independent label and I am very proud that I can have such a special store on a beautiful street in Mayfair and create a special place for my collections. Giving my collections a sense of place. It was very important to create a space that I wanted to be - my team, friends, collaborators, people I admire. You have to hold your head high if your name is above the door and I want anyone to feel welcome to come in and see what we do.
How do you curate the space?
With the space I am thinking of two things; product and inspiration. If the space calls out for an installation, some are handmade in our Dalston studio, like the crochet plastic wall hanging downstairs, or we work with others to create new work, like the metal cage with Janina. It always comes from me standing in the shop and thinking about the coming season and what we can do to make it an interesting experience in the store.
In our upcoming Pre-Spring issue, you confessed that during a trip to Kyoto during Sakura season, your senses were heightened and a little distorted because, unknown to you at the time, you were suffering from morning sickness. From this experience to your spring/summer 16 collection itself, what was the brief to both Janina, Jacob and Joe? And the interplay between each of them?
The Kyoto 'trippy' brief was most apparent in Joe's film. I really like his own style with film and asked how he would interpret the collection within the show space all the textures mixing together, knowing the distorted inspiration. Jacob and I have been working together for 3/4 years so it's a constant conversation. With the shop I wanted to incorporate the feeling of contrasts always running through my work and a series of photos with Jacob seemed right, as it is the natural and the man made (cut flowers inside car on the way home) Then in addition to the Kyoto prints in the collection I wanted to run one of Jacob's prints of the series to mark the new shop. So it was included in the collection with hand macramé pieces. Finally knowing all would be in the shop at the same time I asked Janina would she make it in a physical form which is now in the shop window. She also trapped some pieces in Perspex for our space in Dover Street Market New York.
Finally, how do you select your collaborators and why do you think friendships/long-term partnerships often blossom?
Some collaborations come from admiring people's work like Louise Bourgeois and reaching out to them. Others are the good old fashioned way, meeting over a pint in a pub which is how I met Colin, Jacob and Ross (which was a long time ago in Dublin).