Conscious coupling
VOGUE India|February 2021
Over the past decade, Simone Rocha has dressed and been inspired by strong women. Now, with an H&M collaboration with designs for men and children, her sartorial influence promises to grow manifold. Priyanka Khanna reports on a match made in fashion heaven
Priyanka Khanna

PAIR OF ACES Looks from H&M X Simone Rocha span kids wear and menswear, featuring the designer’s trademarks

For this issue, dedicated to love and romance, I started listing the designers we would consider ‘romantic’. But the list made me pause to wonder: what really is sartorial romanticism today? Is it the fantasy of couture imagined in reams of tulle and taffeta? Is it a nod to Victoriana? Or is it the bohemian medley à la the quintessential icon Talitha Getty?

In the case of Simone Rocha, within her prettiness lies a hint of the eerie. Her clothes have a haunting beauty, their appeal richly layered with the ceremonial (Irish communion dresses and papal influences), the historical (Nell Gwyn, the mistress of Charles II, along with Anne Boleyn, have made up her vision board), the personal (china dolls in Victorian dresses from her childhood, Aran knitting native to Ireland), all created, as Rocha has stressed over the years, for different generations, sizes and shapes.

In 2021, I believe this is the sartorial romanticism that women are looking for. As Dublin-born Rocha, a graduate of Central Saint Martins and the daughter of designer John Rocha celebrates a decade in the business, she reintroduces archival pieces to bring all her aesthetic tenets—signature pearls, scalloped edges, broderie Anglaise and more to an H&M collaboration.

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