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London Fashion Week AW24 Highlights: Simone Rocha's playful glamour and animal toy accessories
18 February 2024

Irish fashion designer Simone Rocha showcased stuffed animal toys on the catwalk in her otherwise overtly glamourous collection at London Fashion Week 2024.

Hot off the heels of Haute Couture Week in Paris, where she was a guest designer for Jean Paul Gaultier, Rocha debuted a more grownup aesthetic with an emphasis on voluminous shapes.

Her signature style for bows and layers of tulle were present in the show, at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great in London, but in a more understated fashion than we’re used to seeing.

(Ben Broomfield Photography/PA)

A masterclass in overt romanticism, there was chic tailoring and corsetry with a heavy dose of faux fur – this London Fashion Week is the first where the organisers have banned real fur from the runways completely. The fabric was seen in coats and as accents on shoulders and hips.

The Dublin-born designer appears to have used her first Couture Week show as a jumping-off point for this new direction, with both featuring the underwear-as-outerwear trend and dramatic silhouettes. Her Paris show saw her reimagine Jean Paul Gaultier’s famous bra cone shapes and flamboyant style, garnering huge praise for paying homage to the label’s history with stripes and sailor hats, while also pushing her own contemporary boundaries.

Simone Rocha AW24

(Ben Broomfield Photography/PA)

The legendary French designer launched the initiative to showcase guest designers when he announced his retirement in January 2020 – Rocha was the sixth person invited.

The London collection was a playful approach to formalwear – hints of humour were shown in the toys (or possibly bags) that weren’t distinguishable as any particular animal.

Simone Rocha AW24

(Ben Broomfield Photography/PA)

Rocha’s collaboration with Crocs is also going strong on the runway – the controversial shoes were heavily decorated in pearls and sparkle, a theme that ran throughout the collection.

Some models were sent down the church’s runway in hoods with strange peaks, and ribbons were used as oversized earrings. Using ribbons in an unusual way seems to be a theme for the Irish designer – her AW23 collection saw them used as make-up, stuck under models’ eyes.

Celebrities flocked to the front row to watch Rocha’s latest offering, including Irish actor Andrew Scott, Euphoria star Maude Apatow – who wore a dramatic black dress and clutched one of the strange animal toys – style star Alexa Chung and singer Griff.

(Ben Broomfield Photography/PA)

Some fashion fans likened her collection to the clothes worn by Bella Baxtor, Emma Stone’s 19th century character in Yorgos Lanthimos’ film Poor Things.

A soundtrack of All Of The People by Irish singer-songwriter Grian Chatten matched the mysterious, ethereal vibe, and the austere location was the perfect backdrop for a show that received a well-deserved standing ovation.

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