How many unwonted and wonderful fabrics does it take to put together Simone Rocha's Fall/Winter 2012 collection? Minimum eight: mirrored leather, cotton poplin hand-embellished with cream woolly crochet, printed spotty leather, textured hairy mohair, lace, and Linton tweed. And there are often more than one on a single garment. That's Simone's true genius— her ability to combine contrasting elements, while maintaining a clean balance. Her tomboyish tanks blend soft knit wool with delicate tulle necklines and backs; her lace jacket is a happy balance of archetypal femininity and boyish outerwear.
Thematically, the collection draws on an equilibrium, and a curious one at that, between New Ireland and Old Ireland—being the northeastern province of Papua New Guinea and Simone's native land of four leaf clovers and River Dance. I asked Simone about the collection's theme and Ireland (truth be told, a selfish direction to take the interview as it mostly satiates my Irish wanderlust).
Gillian Tozer: How do the unique and contrasting combinations of fabrics relate to the collection's theme, New Ireland Old Ireland?
Simone Rocha: It was about making each individual garment interesting and bringing freshness to them. The feral textiles of the collection referenced New Ireland and the childlike dresses came from a picture of a group of kids taken in the 30s.
GT: Unlike your previous collection, the FW12 collection is almost entirely monochromatic. Using Papua New Guinea as a reference point, it must've been difficult to block out the color element. Why did you choose to do so?
SR: There was a real focus in texture so the cream and black palette was a great surface to play with the textiles. The reference photographs were also in black and white allowing me to focus on the textures. This also meant the green look had a real presence.
GT: What are your favorite pieces from the collection?
SR: The pencil skirt and bomber jacket—the BLACK PONY LOOK. I am wearing the cotton poplin shirts with the feral embellished collars, the green grassy mohair skirt, and the black pony jacket.
GT: What were you reading, watching, and listening to while designing the collection?
SR: I was reading takeout menus, watching Mad Men, and listening to Talking Heads and Elvis.
GT: Tell me a little bit about your childhood in Ireland.
SR: I grew up in the city, but as a kid during the summer holidays I would go to the countryside, where my mom was from, and go to pony camp. As a teenager, I used to hang out with boys and girls in the lane behind my house, smoking, kissing—just being boys and girls hanging out.
GT: Favorite Irish dish?
SR: My mom's roast dinner
GT: Favorite Irish holiday?
SR: Last New Year's Eve with friends by the sea in County Clare. At midnight we were all in the sea: it was magic and very Irish—as in cold, wet, whiskey-filled, and wonderful.
GT: Favorite Irish person?
SR: Mary Robinson [first female president of Ireland]
GT: Favorite spot in your hometown?
SR: Glendaloch, County Wicklow or the Wicklow mountains. When I go home I always visit Grogan's, the pub in town.
GT: What music is on repeat around the studio?
SR: Hank Williams
GT: Any hints from the next collection or show? What can we expect?
SR: Teenagers and cake
Photos by Harry Carr
Shop all Simone Rocha HERE