Spring Awakening : Simone Rocha Reinvents Florals in Paganist SS2024 Collection


Poetic and tender, Simone Rocha’s SS2024 collection The Dress Rehearsal, as presented during London Fashion Week, delivers an ethereal, yet dark-sided collection, with silhouettes entangled in a paganist love affair, that remind us of the early-Renaissance paintings of Sandro Botticelli. The collection, featured in a small, intimate rehearsal space at the English National Ballet in London’s Canning Town, alongside with the metallic twist on the ballet shoes presented in the collection, encourages a new take on the sensation of ballet-core aesthetic, where fashion design meets the highly estimated art form of ballet dancing. Delicate rose bouquets emerge under see-through garments. Pockets and button-ups make their appearance as softness and utility meet, in a visually striking collection, seemingly affected by early Renaissance aesthetics. Pastel pink and dainty white tulle, ribbon bows and nylon parkas are only a few of the subtle contradictions of the collection.

On the other hand, Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera, or Allegory of Spring, painted in the late fifteenth century, renders spring and rebirth in unprecedented detail. Venus and cupid are depicted engaging mortals in scandalous love affairs and adventures, ending in heartbreak, but also healing. Embroidered roses on goddess Flora’s ethereal dress are strongly referenced in Rocha’s rose under-garment bouquets, celebrating the precious yet fleeting moment of youth. Nymphs, dancing between orange trees, seem to be captivated by paganist lust. Eternal youth, young love, but also heartbreak and insanity are only a few of the connotations of the more than a hundred different flowers depicted in the painting of Botticelli, including fleurs-de-lys, hyacinths and cherry blossoms.

In the same context, MUA of Simone Rocha’s SS2024 collection Thomas de Kluyver experiments with hand-painted rosettes on the faces of the models, enhancing their natural characteristics, yet giving an early-Renaissance undertone to the no-make-up look. Eclectic dusty-rose body tattoos are also featured on the back and neck of the models, enhancing the concept of rebirth and fruition of the Spring months. When it comes to accessories, beaded rose bags and satin bows appear alongside flowing frills and pleats, reminding us the ones that Botticelli carefully curated in Primavera. Daisies are embroidered on tulle and fresh-cut roses are encapsulated in satin gowns. Pearl bags and other beaded accessories seem to underline the general concept of fruitfulness and euphoria of springtime. As for the shoes, flower-embellished crocs and metallic ballet flats bring together the comfort-chic aspect of the collection, in a creative pas-de-deux of ease and elegance. But when the time comes for spring days to slowly drift away, what will happen to the forget-me-nots, irises and orange blossoms? In this case, as the poets claim and Simone Rocha gives the impression to agree: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”


PhD (c) in Communication, Media & Culture

Museum Educator in the Greek National Gallery

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