Presented at a recently restored 19th century Victorian theatre at Alexandra Palace, Simone Rocha‘s new Spring/Summer 2020 collection for London Fashion Week was inspired by the Celtic tradition of Wren Day (or St. Stephen’s Day), where Irish Wren Boys, dressed in masks and straw suits, would set out to capture a Wren bird and knock on doors to sing and ask for money donations.
The Dublin-born designer imagined these boys marching into faded grand old Irish houses and — surrounded by peeling wallpaper prints in dusty blues and broken plates — parading in circles as they sang and danced in their heavily lipped brogues and studded pearls.
As a result, the season’s ready-to-wear takes heavy inspiration from the interiors of these houses the Wren Boys knocked on, all translated into delicate fabrications — from silk taffeta with peeling wallpaper prints to ivory tulle with faded blue Delph embroideries and organzas embroidered with Broderie Anglaise daisies and Mulberry berries — beautifully made into layers upon layers of ruffles, lace, frills, and puff sleeves that created sculptural silhouettes dominating the ethereal collection.
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Naturally, bird-inspired elements of frills and feathers were spotted everywhere, with raffia pieces including hand-macramé aprons worn as harnesses and dresses over embroidered tulle lace pieces. Accessories, meanwhile, featured bags, shoes and headbands embellished with spikes and crystals. There was also a giant pearl bag and satin ballet slippers that exuded Rocha’s signature whimsy and Victorian-inspired romance.
The celebration of Irish culture was also reflected in the model selections, with Rocha inviting a cast of women hailing from the designer’s native Ireland. These women included Chernobyl star Jessie Buckley from Killarney, Ripper Street‘s Charlene McKenna and Valene Kane, theatre actors Olwen Fouéré and Simone Kirby and many more.
See the full collection in the video below.