Fashion News

Simone Rocha earns top marks for haute couture debut in Paris

The London-based Irish designer and former Irish Tatler cover star unveiled her first haute couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier

Models walk the runway during the finale of the Simone Rocha X Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture spring-summer 2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 24, 2024

Blush pink sailor hats with crystal embellishments, nautical stripes formed by sea blue ribbons and a focus on the feminine form. Such were the hallmarks of Simone Rocha’s debut haute couture spring-summer 2024 collection as guest designer for Jean Paul Gaultier.

Unveiled in Gaultier’s Parisian headquarters – a Belle Époque building with vaulted ceilings and classic pillar columns – the collection was unveiled to a front row of A-listers like Kylie Jenner, Kelly Rutherford, Anna Wintour and Lana Del Ray.

The 36 couture one-of-a-kind looks blended Rocha’s penchant for ethereal and alluring mythical-inspired feminine design with Gaultier’s brand of divine femininity and a focus on the body.

A model walks the runway during the Simone Rocha X Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture spring-summer 2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 24, 2024. Picture by Yannis Vlamos

Standout looks included a silver-coated bell-shaped dress crafted entirely from Irish crochet. Inspired by the costume Gaultier made for the choreographer Régine Chopinot for the 1986 film Le Défilé, according to British Vogue, the piece reflected Rocha’s appreciation for Irish heritage fabric and design roots.

A blush pink slip dress with a bustier top, tulle detailing and blood-red crystal embellishments was another strong signature of Rocha’s designs, coupled with Gaultier’s trademark sailor hat in a matching blush pink satin fabrication.

Designs were also peppered with trailing bows and intricate embellishments while styles like corsetry, boning, bell-shapes, and puff sleeves were a key feature.

“I wanted to make something that was attractive, provocative, playful, sensual, feminine and strong,” Rocha told British Vogue, adding:

“Haute couture is historical and romantic, and even some of my collections play on these qualities, so it’s about introducing modernity, reality, an almost scientific approach to this project, to push it forward for today.”

Simone Rocha and Jean Paul Gaultier

Irish Tatler’s September 2023 cover star and former Irish Tatler Women of the Year awardee for fashion, Rocha stated in an exclusive interview with the magazine before her spring-summer 2024 show that unveiling a collection comes with a host of emotions:

“The big thing is I stop being able to sleep, which is very tricky. My mind is going 90 miles a minute because you’re just thinking about could be thinking about the line of a jacket, thinking about the show music, thinking about the layout of the showroom in Paris.”

Next for the designer is presenting her autumn-winter 2024 collection on the 17th of February during London Fashion Week. “It’s such a compliment to be able to make something that people want to physically put on their body and cherish,” Rocha told Irish Tatler.