The designer tells Document about the books that informed her romantic Edwardian aesthetic and made her laugh during pregnancy.
Document’s contributors are compiling summer reading lists with a twist. We’re asking writers, authors, artists, scholars for their old favorites and anticipated releases.
Storytelling is a pivotal factor in regards to constructing successful clothing collections, and this integral facet of fashion design is strongly noticeable in the works of Dublin-born, London-based designer Simone Rocha. Her appreciation and life-long devotion to classic literature has manifested itself and left a mark on her amorous, unique collections. Simone Rocha creates narratives through her signature components such as tulle, pearls, perspex, flowers, frou-frou and brocade, repurposing these familiar signifiers of the brand in a constant loop of prosperous reinvention.
Simone’s literary preferences correlate to her clothing collections with books like A Room With a View by E.M. Forster. The book takes place in the Edwardian era and looks at social commentary and romance, just as Simone Rocha’s collections are equally based on femininity, empowerment, and love. Her Irish roots have also been a key source of inspiration and have influenced her literary choices with authors like Roddy Doyle and Donal Ryan making it to her list of favorites. Simone Rocha celebrates two works of the following writers on her list of books that shaped her career and life, both books touch heavily on motherhood and pregnancy.
“A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself.”—John Berger, Ways of Seeing
The Witches by Roald Dahl
I adored the Roald Dahl as a child; I was actually petrified of The Witches. But I think, out of all his books, this has ended up being the most influential on my work.
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Like all good students, I flicked through this as an Art student. Only later in life did it’s importance dawn on me and influence my ways of seeing. Especially the view of women.
All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
I love Irish writers—Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle, Patrick Kavanagh, most recently Sally Rooney—but my favourite is Donal Ryan. It is so heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, honest, bleak, and beautiful.
The Snapper by Roddy Doyle
I love reading and re-reading Roddy Doyle (born and bred in Dublin, Ireland). I just laugh and laugh reading his work. So many greats—The Van, The Commitments, but I love The Snapper. I re-read it when I was pregnant, and it was the only thing that could still make me laugh. This AW16 collection was designed at the same time, and the ideas of birth and nursing were the strong influences.
A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
I was obsessed with A Room With a View when I was a teenager—the love, Florence, the wet English countryside, the dark wooden rooms, the lace, the white tennis outfits.
Simone Rocha is currently reading The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.