25 September 2023

Simone Rocha, a rare pearl

Pearls and crystals, facored materials in the jewelry world, are an integral part of Simone Rocha ‘s style. The fashion designer has made them foundational elements of her brand since her debut in 2010, alongside historical references, oversized volumes, frivolous fabrics, knots, and ribbons.

By Sandrine Merle.




Just a few days ago in London, during her latest ready-to-wear fashion show, Rocha created a buzz with Crocs entirely decorated with faceted crystals and white pearls, her two favorite materials. Subtly arranged on the top or the back strap of these sturdy plastic clogs, the gems form flowers and romantic interlaces reminiscent of the 18th century. What talent! Even those who consider these utilitarian shoes the epitome of bad taste might have second thoughts…


The art of standing out

The fashion designer excels in this realm. Initially, crystals and pearls were merely details on hairpins or shoes. She then directly exploited the hardness of these materials by incorporating them into her muslin, tulle, and organza. They would later play a substantial role in eccentric garments made up of billowing ruching, ribbons, smocks, ruffles and bows. Strategically placed here and there, they also provide weight, defining, structuring, and sculpting the silhouette. In scattered form, they adorn socks, reminiscent of those worn bygentlemen. They also transform into headdresses and surprising facial adornments. Given the size of these pearls and crystals, it’s goes without saying that they are imitations like those used by jewelers.


Indices of refraction

Simone Rocha masterfully controls the brilliance of crystal and pearls. They harmonize perfectly on evanescent materials as well as on heavy khaki canvases. She knows how to use them in proportion according to their refractive index – the intensity of the light reflected from their surface. On a diaphanous textile or on Irish knitwear as well as on jewelry, faceted crystal usually has a bright, dazzling effect; while pearl, composed of layers of nacre, is softer and more iridescent. Thanks to her skillful placements and the wearer’s movements, the silhouette is illuminated, reflected, irradiated, and surrounded by an incredibly unique aura. A true experience.


Pearl obsession

Simone Rocha is somewhat obsessed with white pearl – occasionally slightly golden or pink – using it on virtually allher silhouettes. She subjects pearls to all sorts of experiments, facets them like stones, and shapes some of them into jumbo sizes to transform them into jewelry bags (which have become iconic), with handles also formed by rows of pearls. In her latest collection for summer 24, she has turned them into bridal bouquets… while the flowers themselves appear in the dress, between layers of tulle. A daring and romantic game of contrasts.


We’re delighted that Jean-Paul Gaultier has invited her to design his next haute couture collection to be presented in Paris next January, following in the footsteps of Chitose Abe, Olivier Rousteing, and Haider Ackermann. Enchantment guaranteed.


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