When I first saw these stunning pictures of Simone Rocha's SS11 collection on the popular style blog Love Aesthetics, I guess you could say that I had something of a fashion Proustian moment. In case you don't know, (as I didn't until recently when we did this at uni) a Proustian moment or memory is when something you encounter evokes recollections of the past without conscious effort. In other words, involuntary memory. It could be caused by a smell (the most powerful evocation of memory that we have), a taste, or just anything that triggers off a sense of powerful, unexpected memory or recollection. The term was coined by the French author Marcel Proust. It's like when you catch a whiff of perfume or aftershave that your ex used to wear, and suddenly you are overcome with the feelings that you had when you were with that person, and you feel as though you are right back in that time, in that compartmentalized memory inside your head that you thought you'd closed the chapter on, that you thought was well and truly preserved as merely a memory, that you'd never have to revisit again. It's like you jumped right back into a photograph from the past, and just for that one moment, when you can smell that fragrance, the past is alive again, and you are there, back in that time, feeling that onslaught of forgotten emotions, back in that place you thought you'd put way back on a dusty shelf in your memory, far in the recesses of your mind.
Well, seeing these photos didn't exactly give off the fragrance of youth or the taste of childhood, but they did take me back to a time, in that summer in 2006 that I mentioned in 'Acid Brights and Summer Rain', when I had an all-white outfit that I accessorized with bright, fuchsia pink lips. I think that that summer was so special to me, not just because it was a time of happiness and of hazy, adolescent dreaming, but because it was also around the time that I really started to discover real fashion. Before that, I had always been a tall, skinny, insecure teen who thought that 'fashion' meant piling on as much bronzer as I could, getting out as much flesh as was decently possible, and trying my absolute hardest to look like the 'popular' girls in school. It was when I got to the age of seventeen that I started to question this desperate desire to blend into the crowd and look like everybody else.
I had discovered Sex and the City at the age of sixteen, and had watched, awed, as Carrie pranced the streets in tutus, outrageous hats, look-at-me knee-high socks and sometimes even ball gowns, with a confidence that made it seem like she owned the city. I had discovered Dita Von Teese, and realized that not only did staying out of the sun and remaining pale-skinned prevent you from premature aging and skin cancer, but also that it was beautiful. Watching shows like America's Next Top model and reading fashion magazines had taught me that being tall wasn't something to be ashamed of, and for the first time, I gave in to my love of heels. Before that, I'd only ever worn flat shoes, and would sometimes even stoop so that I was more the same height as my friends. It also taught me that beauty comes in many, many forms. Weather you're black, white, tanned, skinny, curvy, blonde or brunette, you can find your own way to be beautiful. For the first time in my life, I realized that fashion wasn't about making boys like you or fitting in, it was about being yourself, and most of all- having fun.
I reveled in my new discoveries and growing confidence that summer. I tried new things and dared myself to step out of my comfort zone. I stopped being ashamed of what I'd previously seen as 'flaws' and finally learned to embrace my differences. The models on the pages of my copies of Vogue were tall, willowy and ethereal in their beauty- to me, they looked like something right out of a different world. I wanted their perfect confidence, their grace and their ability to stand out on the page and make the clothes come alive. It was the first time I learned to take risks, and to try and stand out like my beautiful Vogue models. Sometimes I got it horrendously wrong, and people would laugh at me (like the time I cured my hair into ridiculously tight ringlets that bounced with my every step- BIG mistake) but at least I can look back now and say that I wasn't boring.
That summer I remember reading in Vogue or Elle that lipstick was making a comeback. I was so excited by the idea of wearing bold, matte colour on my lips, that was so different from the translucent, shiny lip-gloss I was used to wearing throughout my teens. I remember reading about how you should team your bold, fuchsia lipstick with pale skin, powdered to perfection, and a lick of black mascara for a fresh, minimalist take, and the words to me sounded like poetry. I remember telling my best friend about it in a random, old man pub we'd managed to sneak into one summer night, and how she laughed and told me I was talking too loud because I was drunk, and that everyone was looking at me sitting there raving about pink lipstick.
The Simone Rochas SS11 collection reminded me of the bright pink of that lipstick, and an all- white outfit I'd picked out to perfectly compliment the look. I had teamed together little white shorts from Zara, and a long, flowing, white top from Topshop that swung in the summer breeze when I walked. Seeing the Simone Rochas SS11 collection and the white with neon pink accents makes me recall that summer with a perfect clarity. The heat, the freedom, the excitement, and the feeling of being just seventeen years old like the Dancing Queen, and of having the whole world at my feet.
This summer, I cannot wait to re-rock this look. Here are some more images that are inspiring me right now:
Classic Carrie in a white vintage- looking sundress. I want her sun parasol!
Carrie in the opening scene of SATC 2
I love the way the Simone Rochas collection is made up of simplistic, deconstructed pieces layered under gauzy, billowy fabrics with pops of fluorescent pink accessories in futuristic shapes and plasticky materials (pink plastic box bag, I covet thee.) The collection was inspired by traditional Chinese mourning, when everyone wears white. Simone Rochas described in an interview how "I visited my grandad’s grave in Hong Kong and it was stark white but had highlighted flowers and that’s where I got the colourful accessories from and the pink clothes. It’s tough but with a feeling of romance." (If you want to read more of this interview, go to http://love-aesthetics.blogspot.com)
Although this idea may seem slightly creepy, I actually think that it's kind of beautiful, if you think about mourning as a way of showing love and respect to lost loved ones. I like the idea so much more than wearing black. There's a purity to wearing white and decorating graves in bright, cheerful pink that to me seems to be more of a celebration of the person's life and your love for them than just sadness at their passing. I think the idea behind this collection is really unusual and beautiful- what do you think?
It wasn't just at Simone Rocha that white clothes were seen on the runway. White was also seen at Dolche & Gabbana and Stella McCartney.
Since I first read the Simone Rochas post on Love Aesthetics, I've been scouring the internet for pieces I can buy to take on the look. They're just ideas at the moment so I can decide what to buy come summer. Here's what I've found so far...
Also from www.rokit.co.uk
I've not managed to find many bright pink accessories yet, but I'm on the hunt! Come summer, I'll be strolling down memory lane in some of my bright pink lippy, for some more of those breezy summer days in white...
Please comment and let me know what you think :-)
The Porcelain Princess xoxoxo