Simone Rocha unveiled a spellbinding Spring 2024 collection at the English National Ballet HQ, titled “The Dress Rehearsal.” Though the setting evoked images of pirouetting ballerinas, Rocha orchestrated a different kind of dance, one that intermingled the fragility of roses with the sweetness of wedding cakes. A ballet of fabric and flowers unfolded, revealing a collection both strange and practical, romantic and streetwise. In an arena where roses merged into bouncy crinolines and parkas were adorned with glossy garlands, her Spring 2024 show was quintessentially Simone Rocha—a visionary blend of the old and the new.
From the moment the first model stepped onto the stage, it was clear that Rocha was orchestrating a masterpiece. Instead of the usual dance-related entertainment, the 51 models navigated around a rectangular frame in a conventional show manner, albeit dressed in unconventional attire. The initial theme of roses, possibly inspired by bouquets traditionally thrown to ballerinas, was evident in 3-D fabric whorls and real, long-stemmed pale pink roses tucked into sheer garments.
As the show progressed, the theme transitioned from roses to birthday and wedding cakes. Swagged effects, mimicking old-fashioned icing sugar, adorned bouncy crinolines and, in one instance, covered the entirety of a men’s marching shirt and shorts combination. This transition from delicate flowers to celebratory confections showcased Rocha’s ability to seamlessly blend the whimsical with the practical. Taffeta tracksuits and dresses with bell-shaped skirts captured the essence of modern-day, streetwise Rimbauds, while black parkas slickened with glossy garlands and camp shirts festooned with “cotton icing” epitomized Rocha’s delicious terminology.
The inspiration for the collection stemmed from the Little Ark of Kilbaha, a mobile church in 19th-century Ireland where people congregated on the beach when the tide receded. Rocha translated this historical reference into a white framed structure adorned with trumpeting angels, set against a blackened backdrop. The installation served as a metaphorical ark, guiding the audience through a sea of romanticism and modernity.
© Photos : Simone Rocha
Click on this link to read this article in French version