Back from a summer break and hope all is well with you. To a blogger in a colourful online landscape, my full in-box and some startling new statistics make me feel like there are a gazillion of you here. Proper funs ahead then and it has given me the urge to do better, organise myself, buy some new coloured pens and Post-it notes, which I’ve just spent the last ten minutes gazing upon and thinking ‘G don’t they make your little life complete?’
Backstage when I’m observing I’m mere wallpaper
Coloured pens notwithstanding, the email deluge must be cleared. Nothing I can’t handle. Meanwhile I shift, I sort, I scrawl MUST DO BETTER in orange into my diary, I move things around, I lose things, find things, lose things again. Hold things up to the light and have long thinks while mumbling… ‘Must do better, first day back.’
Stopping for a brief moment, while holding things up to the light and staring at my coloured highlighters I was reminded of something… Simone Rocha’s A/W2011 Collection. Yes, Simone Rocha. Indulge me. I loved her shoes and now I’d like to show you the rest of her Autumn/Winter 2011 collection here (if I may). I am already mentally buttoning those tiny shirt buttons, fixing the delicate collar of one of her shirts against my neck. Aren’t they pretty? And uniquely clever too? But there’s more.
A good designer’s collection builds momentum slowly for me. If I’m interested I can pour over it for hours/maybe days. I arrived at Simone Rocha’s show a good hour before showtime as hairstylists and make-up artists gave the models their radical transformation. Ask anyone, backstage when I’m observing I’m mere wallpaper. How, you ask, do you manage that? Well admittedly I take fashion week anonymity to an extreme. I keep my camera close, go easy, step lightly, stay free. Like The Clash.
And what then? Well quite early on, you realised that there’s something very special about each designer’s collection. Simone already had three wonderful collections in her pocket but this her first solo show was based on something very unique (and quite close to my heart).
Let me ask you…. has everyone here seen the ginormous bronze spider at the Tate? It’s called Maman. The largest Spider sculpture ever made by the French-born American artist and sculptor(tress?) Louise Bourgeois. She passed away in 2010 and is sadly missed and if you’d like to know more about how cool she was you can venture a click over HERE. (It’s the New York Times litlle feature on her. It’s pretty compact.)
So, back to when Louise Bourgeois was among us up until 2010 and creating spiders and other huge sculptures… she created a rather famous piece in 1968 and called it ‘Fillette’. In fact it was her most famous. She can be seen carrying it, casually under her arm in the portrait by the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe above.
Incidentally Robert Mapplethorpe the photographer who took this portrait was Patti Smith’s partner (yes that Patti Smith) from 1967–1974, and she supported him by working in bookstores. (Am I alone in finding that fascinating?) Mapplethorpe photographed flowers, especially orchids and calla lilies, and celebrities, including Andy Warhol, Deborah Harry, Richard Gere, Peter Gabriel, Garce Jones and Pattis Smith including the stark, iconic photograph that appears on the cover of Smith’s first album, Horses. But you all probably know this already so I’ll get back to the fashion fast.
It was Mapplethorpe’s portrait of Louise Bourgeois in her fur coat (above) that inspired Simone Rocha’s tailoring in her collection including the fur sleeves on her coats. (I love her alone for that.)
Simone’s collection overall was also influenced by Louise Bourgeois’s fabric work and even the wire crowns were an homage to a portrait of Louise Bourgeois wearing a paper party hat. So are you feeling the Louise Bourgeois love? Can you see I love art history and could easily nerd on about it for aaaaaages? (Sorry but I have a soft spot for Louise Bourgeois because she really was great and gained fame only late in a long career).
When something/someone so new and young and fresh starting out in a promising fashion career, keeps something/someone so successful and special in art alive I mark it as a special moment. And then there’s Rocha’s actual technical skill on top of that. A clever twist to a garment has always been my speed. When I see Simone Rocha’s shirts, the clever tailoring with their mix of interesting textures, the light chiffon against the heavier gingham cotton I think ‘Now that’s smart.’
There’s a list on Simone Rocha’s website of her stockists. My task is to try and refrain myself from buying too much before September. Why September? Dunno. Why not? It seems like a reasonable time frame. Anything less and it’s splurgearama! But ooooh! much longer and who knows what the new collections may bring.