The One to Watch
Who says romance is dead? Simone Rocha, the 30-year old Irish designer whose creations embody a contemporary romanticism with edge, is certainly a testament against. While she may not be a household name in the States yet, Rocha enjoys a certain level of prominence in her native Great Britain. With a British Fashion Council nomination for British Womenswear Designer at the Fashion Awards 2016 and a recently opened flagship on London’s Mount Street, Rocha is taking the next step and opening a stateside flagship in New York City. Unstoppable, the designer’s steady upward trajectory continues with this new venture.
For industry insiders with an eye on the other side of the pond, Rocha is certainly a familiar name, bringing to mind a particular John Rocha, the Hong Kong-born, Dublin-based designer whose collections are not limited to the stages of London Fashion Week, but range from housewares to interiors. Thus born to a family deeply entrenched in the industry, Simone first ran odd errands for her parents (Odette Rocha was John’s business partner, before decamping to her daughter’s brand.) before deciding to pursue fashion design, earning a BA in Fashion from the National College of Art and Design and then an MA at Central Saint Martins. In 2010, Simone showed her first collection at London Fashion Week, and was promptly picked up by Adrian Joffe’s Dover Street Market. Since then, Rocha is stocked by over 200 retailers worldwide. Accolades have followed commercial success. In 2013, Simone Rocha took home the Emerging Talent Award at the British Fashion Awards and just a year later, the New Establishment Award.
Creating a Brick-n-Mortar Identity
What’s next for a budding star on the rise? The Irish designer is set to make her stateside debut with a flagship boutique in New York City. The 2,220 SF boutique is sandwiched between neighbors Moschino and Celine on Wooster Street in SoHo. With an opening date in February of 2017, the boutique will be the designer’s second ever brick-and-mortar location, after her London flagship on Mount Street. While we’re going to stay mum on the details, Simone worked closely with her father, John Rocha, to design the interiors. As noted in a recent interview with Rocha on WWD, “The store will reflect the Simone Rocha aesthetic, similar to what has been explored in the flagship Mount Street store.”
So what can one expect? Completed in August of 2015, the Mount Street flagship preserves much of the 19th century Queen Anne-style architecture, while bringing in contemporary details. For example, Rocha designed a rose cornice that runs along the entirety of the store as well as some of the furnishing, including a beautiful light pink onyx table. Throughout, various design collaborations take center stage, from the window display and white steel cage installation in the middle of the room by set designer Janina Pedan to the marble seating designed by her father, John Rocha. In line with these sculptural elements, the boutique takes cues from an art gallery and features honey comb and acrylic glass sculptures by Hong Kong artist Ren Ri, a glazed ceramic chandelier by American artist Pae White and the pièce de résistance, a triptych of lithographs by Francis Bacon that is a family treasure. The result is an intensely personal space, one where every element serves to further flesh out and solidify the aesthetic DNA of Simone Rocha, the brand.
KPA is currently retained as Executive Architect on this project and we’re working closely with the Rochas to develop and implement their vision. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on this exciting development as it progresses.