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  • Writer's pictureSavannah Bradley

At Simone Rocha, One Last Kiss

Plus, some thoughts on Molly Goddard and 16Arlington.

 


Rulers make bad lovers. Simone Rocha — despite often getting squared away as a coquette brand at the mercy of trend — is very good at breaking her own rules. The last installment of a three-show cycle Rocha dubbed The Dress Rehearsal, her FW24 show is a testament to the end of affairs — one last trench coat over lingerie, one last lipstick stain on a highball glass, one last stab in the dark at forbidden love. 


Staged in the 12th-century St. Bartholomew’s Church (the Europeans really have the edge on haunted venues), Rocha is working against the nebulous forms of her previous collections and spending a little bit more time on shape. Those gauzy pearls are still there, though: one ultra-’60s mint dress hangs like a dead jellyfish; another, the ethereal uniform of a castle executioner. But the tight corsetry is what immediately caught my eye — including a pale pink coat padded with quilted satin and etched with tiny roses, as well as a cropped, corseted overcoat that hides a pair of silky bloomers. While I think Rocha’s work at Jean Paul Gaultier was better, does it even matter? When you’re as good at what you do as her, the margin for error is so slender it might as well be invisible. 



On the topic of dead jellyfish — Molly Goddard kept the bulbous, balloon-like forms at FW24, but punctured them with a level of strategic repulsion. To Vogue Runway, Goddard divulged that she worried if “[the clothes] were so ugly they are beautiful.” Naturally, it was sort of both. The good looks harkened back to classic Goddardian imagery, including a maroon tulle dress flocked with roses; an oversized gray sweater dangling over a tutu; and a sleeveless polka-dot gown, the color of melting sorbet, that feels more relevant for Fall 1984 than Fall 2024. That’s Goddard’s charm, of course: a little awkward, a little passé, but earnest in ideas. 


The bad looks, though, were worse than bad — they were irrelevant. Goddard, whether she set out to or if it was thrust upon her, speaks for a very particular set. It’s not uncommon to see an upwardly mobile woman, usually in her early 30s, wearing a Goddard taffeta dress over jeans on the subway, in the vintage shop, or in the bathroom at the co-working space. These clothes don’t speak to that woman, nor do they speak to anyone. The dropped waists of the opening looks — piles of fabric squished under peasant blouses — are ill-fitting and inapplicable; other moments, like a paper-bag tunic over a swollen skirt, read less Barbie pink and more Pepto Bismol-vomit. I could see one or two looks translating to red-carpet fodder, but otherwise, there aren’t any legs, here.



On the other side of things, 16Arlington’s Marco Capaldo made some deeply wearable clothes this time around. I’ve been keeping tabs on 16Arlington since 2018, and I’m a big fan of what he’s doing. You can see the Miuccia Prada influence in every collection, but over the past few seasons, Capaldo has steadily been tightening up his specific design language — and it feels like last season’s seeds are finally blooming into something fecund and sophisticated.


Inspired by curator Charlie Fox’s 2017 book, This Young Monster, as well as Madonna’s 1994 song “Human Nature,” these clothes are smart, sexy, and impeccably made. Such a high level of connoisseurship is present, even from a distance, in organza panels that bisect the abdomen; shaggy fur coats, individually dyed and assembled in chevron patterns; white-blue turtlenecks that look as if they cling wet to the breast; pleated skirts made of ostrich leather. And yet, for all these disparate ideas, it never feels inorganic or meandering. In fact, it feels like the handiwork of someone who was born for the job. 🌀


 

Savannah Eden Bradley is a writer, fashion editor, gallerina, Gnostic scholar, reformed It Girl, and future beautiful ghost from the Carolina coast. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the fashion magazine HALOSCOPE. You can stalk her everywhere online @savbrads.





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