Alessandro Dellacqua’s third collection for Rochas (he took over from Marco Zanini at the end of 2013) this evening marked the house’s 90th anniversary, which meant it was time to dig back into the archives and bring back out some of Marcel Rochas’s favourites and update them.
So out came a swallow print to nod to the 1934 collection dedicated to birds. It took flight on coats and dresses – beaded and black. There was the classic Chantilly lace to make everything Rochas-frothy, pretty and feminine – but this in fact was used more sparingly than we’ve seen before. Instead there was an emphasis on coats with a wartime posterity about them – the Thirties was the decade being brought back to life here. Which made it all rather restrained for a birthday collection – though we had punches of egg-yolk yellow to contrast the shades of brown and last season’s utility belts were given an upgrade to thick, waist-cinching belts.
And for fans of those now signature bejewelled shoes, they came encrusted at the heel this time.
Schiaparelli’s show concept was designed by Jean-Paul Goude and included a cappella choir singing from windows above. The collection, meanwhile, was designed by the in-house team following the departure of Marco Zanini last November after little more than a year at the helm of the resurrected label. Despite the brand saying at the time that it was looking to appoint someone to the position “soon”, present plans are to keep it running just as it is, with no named designer.
Like Zanini’s shows had been, it was very much inspired by a quite literal interpretation of Elsa Schiaparelli style – flowing trouser suits, big shoulders and surrealist prints such as Salvador Dali’s molten framed mirrors. Stephen Jones headdresses topped offside outfits, sometimes on a neat cap of black braids. There were beautifully tailored tux suits, such as those favoured by house muse Farida Khelfa, and the lines were long.
It is a little difficult still to see where Schiaparelli couture sits in the overall scheme of things, but perhaps a clue is to be found in the exotic skin sandals and precious miniature bags dangling from the models’ wrists.
IT’S two seasons in for Alessandra Dell’Acqua at Rochas – the No 21 designer replaced Marco Zanini at the end of last year and made his debut for the house last February and cooked up a resort collection in between.
At No 21, Dell’ Acqua is known for his ability to join the dots between girl-boy dressing and we saw an offshoot of that this afternoon – his weapon of choice being a utility belt to add an industrial-futuristic feel to typically beautiful and fragile Rochas looks that under Zanini’s tenure had simply just been about the frou. Whether wearing your belt up high around your bust over a bejewelled black evening coat or jacket (or ball gown) will catch on in the real world is a different story, but here it helped to bring a modern plot to the house.
But there was plenty of lace and grace to be found too: the show notes cited sentimental adjectives – “virginal shyness”, “blooming sensuality”, “delicate”, “preciousness” – and they all performed.
Emphasis was on the back with high-neck collars unfolding into bows and sweeping down the back. Waists were dropped for fun and youthful appeal while Victoriana notes came in lace and high front-facing collars on long gowns.
“Naive” and “innocent” perfectly captured the sense of what was going on here, transparency was key. There was night-time allure about dressing gown dresses and coats, the girls ghost-like in their there-then-gone appearances.
A special mention has to go to the shoes which, as is fast becoming the Rochas staple, were tinsel-smothered at the front like a high-end feather duster and teamed with socks cut away at the heel.
But the main thing to take away was the utility belt. Will you?
Click below to shop more delicate, precious and feminine Rochas Spring/Summer 2015: